A public inquiry has opened to decide on plans to build a 70m-high (230ft) wind turbine on the Sussex Downs to power Glyndebourne Opera House.
The proposal was originally passed by Lewes District Council but was sent to an inquiry after the government decided to “call in” the planning application.
Glyndebourne says it wants to build the turbine at Mill Plain, New Road, in Ringmer, to save on energy costs.
But opponents claim it will have a “damaging visual impact on the Downs”.
Ringmer Parish Council, the South Downs Society and Natural England have all objected to the plan because of its impact on the area of outstanding natural beauty.
Jacquetta Fewster, director of the South Downs Society, said the turbine was “the wrong scheme in the wrong place”.
Tom Oliver, head of rural policy at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: “The South Downs are a priceless part of the beauty, tranquillity and heritage of England.
“It is not ‘green’ to squander this in return for an unreliable and severely limited supply of energy when more efficient alternatives and locations are available.”
Glyndebourne has argued that the 850kw turbine would generate the equivalent of the opera house’s annual electricity consumption.
The public inquiry is being held at the White Hart Hotel, in Lewes, and will run for six days over two weeks.
The inquiry inspector will then report to the government for a decision later in the year.
26 February 2008
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