Campaigners are seeking a judicial review in a bid to get plans for a wind farm overturned.
North Devon District Council plans to appeal against a decision by developer Coronation Power to build 22 giant wind turbines in North Devon.
After a decision by the courts to fast-track the process, the council has reaffirmed its position to push ahead and seek a full judicial review of the Secretary of State’s decision to grant planning permission for the wind farm at Fullabrook Down.
The council expects the review to be heard in late June in the High Court where it will challenge the Secretary of State’s decision, which the authority believes could have a detrimental impact on the landscape, increase noise levels and affect tourism and house prices.
North Devon District Council leader Coun Mike Harrison said: “We owe it to the residents of North Devon to challenge this decision in accordance with the overwhelming wishes of North Devon Council’s members. We are determined to do all that is possible to protect both the people of North Devon and the environment from the effects of a wind farm, of the size proposed, in such a prominent position.”
Each turbine would be 110m high, to the blade tip, with the wind farm stretching for three miles north to south and over two miles east to west.
Tim Hale, Devon chairman of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England welcomed the news, saying: “We don’t want to see any wind farms in Devon.
“It will cause serious damage to the landscape, while the production of electricity will be minimal.
“I don’t object to wind turbines in an industrial landscape like those in Avonmouth.
“But trying to put wind turbines on the open moors is not the right way to go about it especially when it will produce little at a huge cost.”
Mr Hale said the turbines would also be seen and heard at night as well as during the day after the Ministry of Defence and the Civil Aviation Authority recommended that they are fitted with beacons and flashing red lights.
Last year, Coronation Power also submitted a proposal for four turbines at Bickham Moor, Rackenford, on the edge of Exmoor.
Ricky Knight, the prospective Green Party candidate for both the UK and the European parliaments for North Devon, said the decision by North Devon District Council to oppose the wind farm was Nimby-ism at its worst.
He said: “We support the scheme for the wind farm. A 21-day review into the scheme has already cost the taxpayer £100,000. If there’s going to be a judicial review it will cost another £50,000 but all it will do is postpone a long-overdue renewable energy scheme.
“Devon needs to achieve its renewable energy target by 2010. But it won’t if this is postponed further.
“It’s very frustrating to see groups like the CPRE, the district council and other Nimby groups being so hell bent on opposing the wind farms.”
Coronation Power said building the wind farm at Fullabrook Down would help achieve Devon’s renewable energy targets to generate 151MW of renewable electricity by 2010.
A spokesman for the London-based firm said it would wait to see the outcome of the judicial review.
He said: “The scheme not only has massive benefits for the local community, but also contributes to meeting local, national and international renewable targets.”
25 February 2008
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