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High court to rule on wind farm proposal  

The High Court is expected to make a ruling on a controversial wind farm next week.

North Devon District Council (NDDC) lodged its concerns over the Fullabrook Down project after the energy minister Malcolm Wicks announced that permission had been granted for the 22-turbine scheme in October last year.

Campaigners and councillors immediately launched a campaign against the wind farm, which would see 22 turbines, each standing 110m (360ft) high on the beauty spot near to Ilfracombe.

The proposals would make it the biggest wind farm in England.

On Wednesday and Thursday next week the council will contest Mr Wicks’s decision at the High Court on landscape, noise and policy grounds.

The minister’s decision to grant planning permission for the development at Fullabrook Down followed a public inquiry held between November 2006 and January 2007.

Coun Mike Harrison, leader of NDDC, said: “By a vast majority and after intense discussions, the council decided to challenge the Fullabrook decision. It’s next to an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

“We took this route because we felt it was important to ensure the best outcome for the people of North Devon.”

The council finally decided to seek a full judicial review against the minister’s decision this year.

It was during the inquiry that NDDC had argued that the impact the development would have on the local landscape, the lives of those living in the area, the attractiveness of the area to visitors and local tourism far out weighed any benefits.

Those opposed to the wind farm say it is wrong because it would be one of several being considered for the North Devon area – yet each is considered independently of any other proposals.

However, Barnstaple town councillor and prospective European parliamentary candidate for the Greens in the South West, Coun Ricky Knight, said: “This has all been a terrible waste of money. Everyone claims to be committed to combating climate change. Wind farms would definitely do this.

“Turbines are not permanent and therefore would not be anymore a blot on the landscape than electrical pylons.

“This is the windiest part of the country and so it makes sense to have these turbines based here until something more permanent such as offshore power is introduced.”

NDDC is looking at three separate wind farm applications – there are plans for nine turbines at Batsworthy Cross, two turbines at Cross Moor and nine turbines at Three Moors.

All three wind farm applications are at the consultation stage.

Peter Harrison

Western Morning News

19 June 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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