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Wind farm face shock rejection

Controversial plans to build a wind farm on the Essex coast were dramatically rejected by councillors last night.

Npower Renewables had applied to build five 410-feet turbines and a substation on rural land at Earls Hall Farm near Clacton-on-Sea.

But the plans faced strong opposition from people living nearby and a protest group – South Tendring Acting to Protect Our Local Environment (STAPLE) – was set up to fight it.

Members of the Tendring District Council planning committee met last night and, despite the plans being recommended by its own officers, councillors unanimously voted against the development as more than 180 members of the public looked on.

Douglas Carswell, MP for Harwich and Clacton, said: “I am very pleased. There is no need to build these wind farms on shore. Hundreds are being built off-shore and that is the right place for them. They will have a serious impact on people’s quality of life in Clacton and the surrounding area. They are not nice eco-friendly sources of electricity, they are monster turbines.”

Reasons why councillors voted against the wind turbines included noise pollution, the visual impact and also the affect on resident’s televisions.

Iris Johnson, portfolio holder for planning at the district council, said it was a “very difficult decision” and said that Npower Renewables could now appeal.

“Obviously the decision will be sent to the applicant with the reasons why the council voted against and it is down to them to make of it what they will,” she said. “They have the right to appeal if they wish too.”

Npower Renewables’ proposal would have provided power for between 5,000 and 6,000 homes. The site is in open countryside next to the villages of St Osyth and Little Clacton and near to the north west of Clacton.

A council report into the application revealed that the wind farm would have no “adverse significant environmental effects” which could justify refusal of the application.

Work is already underway on a major offshore wind farm at nearby Gunfleet Sands, which will supply power to about 120,000 homes

Anthony Bond

East Anglian Daily Times

20 June 2008