An energy company has resurrected plans to build three wind turbines at a picturesque village – even though it expects councillors to turn the scheme down.
The Cornwall Light and Power Company (CLP) said the 100m-high turbines would provide electricity for about 2,000 people in Devon’s South Hams.
However, villagers in Buckland-tout-Saints, near Kingsbridge, said the latest planning application was too close to protected countryside, would spoil views, create too much noise and contravenes planning guidelines.
They have vowed to fight the plans.
CLP is awaiting the date for a public inquiry which will determine the fate of a previous application for the site at Beech Tree Farm. In the meantime, the firm submitted a slightly revised version of the application – which moves one of the turbines 200m west – in the full knowledge that South Hams District Council will turn down the scheme.
When the public inquiry is held this year, the company will ask for the revised scheme to be considered along with the old one.
CLP’s deputy manager Bob Morgan said: “We fully expect the latest planning application to be rejected by the district council, just like the previous one.
“Then it becomes a joint application to be considered by the planning inspector.”
The government wants to generate more of the nation’s power through renewable energy sources. It recently approved a scheme to site turbines at Fullabrook in North Devon.
However, wind turbines are a controversial option with many claiming they blight the countryside and do not offer enough electricity.
Mr Morgan said the turbines would generate 1.3MW each and join the electricity grid providing power for the local area. “It would be impossible to say where the power generated would go at any one time,” he said.
“We identified the potential site after completing a constraints mapping analysis, which basically means it ticks all the right boxes for wind turbines.”
Any site must have enough wind, be outside protected countryside areas, at least 500m from houses and be close enough to a grid connection.
A plan to site three turbines at the farm was first mooted three years ago by the power company Npower. That application was withdrawn and taken up by Helston-based CLP.
South Hams District Council rejected it last April on the grounds that it was too close to an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and would be an eyesore.
Rosalind Spears, a member of the Buckland-tout-Saints Resident Group, said she was angry the company had submitted another application before the planning enquiry.
“These would be the first wind turbines in the South Hams and would contravene planning guidelines,” she said.
“They would trample all over a completely unspoilt area and not provide the amount of electricity they promise.
“The parish council has had a meeting to discuss the scheme and has decided to reject it on the same basis as the last one.”
She urged all objectors to contact the council to let it know the strength of local opposition.
16 January 2008
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