Green energy giant Eco-tricity says the Government must allow it to build on beauty spots if it is to have any chance of meeting renewable energy targets.
The firm’s founder said most people would have backed his company’s plan to create a huge wind farm in Somerset but for a “vociferous minority” who persuaded a planning inspector to scrap it on Tuesday.
Ecotricity MD Dale Vince said the decision to throw out the controversial plan to build five 120 metre-high turbines near the historic village of Brent Knoll made a “mockery of Government policy”.
He said Somerset cannot shirk its responsibility to fight climate change, and his company will continue to try to build in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The scheme would have powered 10,000 Somerset homes and prevented 29,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide being pumped into the county’s skies each year.
Mr Vince said: “Naturally, we’re very disappointed.
“How are we ever going to fight climate change if we can’t build turbines?
“This decision makes a mockery of Government policy, which is now setting a target for renewables at 40 per cent by 2020. 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.”
Planning inspector Robin Brooks decided the sche-me’s impact on the landscape would be too great after a three-week public inquiry, which came after Sedgemoor District Council turned down Ecotricity’s plans in 2006.
The council said it was a strong supporter of renewable energy but Brent Knoll was not the right place for such a development.
A spokesman said: “We are pleased the planning inspectorate agreed with the decision of the development control committee.”
By Paul Burton
17 January 2008
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