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Turbine fight grows  

Wind turbines on the fringes of Exmoor have been condemned as an eyesore by Britain’s oldest national conservation society.

The Open Spaces Society has submitted hard-hitting criticism of applications for wind farms at Knowstone, South Molton, and Bickham Moor, near Oakford.

“We are dismayed that the wind energy companies keep applying to erect turbines in this part of North Devon,” said Kate Ashbrook, the society’s general secretary.

“There are already two outstanding applications nearby, at Batsworthy Cross and Cross Moor. If all were to be allowed, there would be 25 turbines surrounding the southern fringes of the Exmoor National Park.

“These turbines will be visible from hills around and, in particular, from the popular southern hills of Exmoor, an area of immense natural beauty. The paraphernalia that accompanies the turbines will also be an eyesore.”

Mrs Ashbrook argues that “People’s enjoyment of this area will be severely impaired.

“This tranquil, unspoilt area of North Devon cannot accommodate such an intrusion. Its intimate character will be destroyed.”

The charity said it had urged North Devon and Mid Devon District Councils to reject the proposals.

A website – www.savenorthdevon.com – has been launched to help the fight against wind turbine developments.

It aims to give people in North Devon access to independent information and research regarding wind power and turbines so that they can make an informed choice when it comes to supporting or opposing them.

The site’s creator, Laura Holt from Langtree, said: “North Devon is currently being targeted by several wind power developers, who in turn are exploiting the general public’s lack of understanding regarding wind turbines, their efficiency, and their effect on rural communities and the environment. This new website aims to give people access to the information that the developers don’t give.”

She said the site would also provide guidance for groups on how to oppose wind turbine applications and offer help setting up a website.

“New opposition groups tend to set up their own webpage, often duplicating efforts and spending a great deal of time collating and verifying information.”

Jessie Morton, spokesperson for newly-formed Witheridge-based Stop Pilliven Industrial Turbines (SPIT), said: “The Save North Devon website has been a great source of advice and information, and created a Pilliven campaign page for us within days.”

Bob Barfoot, chairman of the North Devon branch of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE), said savenorthdevon.com was a valuable public tool.

“We welcome any opportunity for the public to gather information from all sides of this debate. It is only by doing so that the public can make an informed judgement.”

Since its launch last month, www.savenorthdevon.com has attracted hundreds of visitors, with more than 600 unique visits, and more than 5,000 hits.

North Devon Gazette

16 January 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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