Brent Knoll villagers and councillors were celebrating today (Tuesday) after learning the appeal bid to build a wind farm in near the Knoll has been turned down.
Renewable energy company Ecotricity lodged the appeal after Sedgemoor District Council originally rejected plans to construct five wind turbines at land at Inner Farm in Edithmead.
A two-week long public inquiry began in November and a decision was finally reached yesterday as the Weekly News went to press.
Deputy mayor, Cllr Neville Jones speaking on behalf of Burnham and Highbridge town council said he was “extremely pleased” with the outcome and was glad the planning inspector agreed with the authority’s viewpoint.
He told the Weekly News: “We felt the proposed sighting of the wind farm was damaging to the environment and as it would have been the first major landmark seen by people heading south from the Midlands, it would have desecrated the landscape.
“We are not against the idea in principal and perhaps they will now find an alternative site for the turbines.”
Sedgemoor District Council issued the following statement: “We are pleased that the inspectorate agreed with the original decision of the Development Control Committee – it was the right development in the wrong location.
“The scheme particularly detracted from the village of Brent Knoll and the Knoll itself and the inspector rightly recognised this.
“Sedgemoor District Council supports the promotion of alternative forms of energy but these should be in appropriate locations where their impact is kept to a minimum.”
A 35-page document issued by planning inspector Robin Brookes outlines why the appeal was rejected with four main issues highlighted.
The first cites the “contribution to renewable energy”, the second refers to the “impact on character and appearance of the landscape”, the third reason is the “effect on residents’ living conditions”, and the final issue points out the “effect on listed buildings and scheduled ancient monuments”.
Brent Knoll parish council clerk Michael Endacott said: “The parish council welcomes the decision and sees it as a vindication of the joint case put forward at the inquiry.”
Ecotricity founder and managing director Dale Vince said the decision makes “a mockery” out of the Government’s renewable energy targets.
He said: “Naturally we’re very disappointed. How are we ever going to fight climate change if we can’t build turbines in places not designated areas of natural beauty?
“If the Government doesn’t get to grips with the planning system this will never be reached. It would be easier for us to get permission to build a nuclear power station. It’s a ridiculous situation.”
By David Hemming
15 January 2008
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