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Protestors gather as turbines inquiry gets underway  

Protestors gathered at Matlock Town Hall this week for the start of an inquiry into controversial plans to build four wind turbines at a Derbyshire Dales beauty spot.

The eight-day hearing, which could cost taxpayers up to £50,000, is being held after the application for the wind farm at Carsington Pastures was turned down by Derbyshire Dales District council last year.

A planning inspector will now decide whether the 100m turbines can be built by Carsington Wind Energy Ltd after hearing the views of protestors, supporters, the council and the applicants.

During the first day of the inquiry on Tuesday, planning inspector Robin Brooks said the main issues which will be taken into consideration will be the impact on the appearance of the landscape, the enjoyment of the countryside by visitors, whether an alternative site should be looked at and regional – as well as national – targets for renewable energy.

During the meeting Neil Edmiston, who spoke on behalf of Carsington and Hopton Parish Council, said the wind turbines would be disturbing and intimidating for walkers.

He added: “Carsington Pastures is enjoyed for its tranquillity and beauty. The movement of the rotors and the full scale of the turbine will have a negative impact on this.”

Anthony Crean, speaking on behalf of the district council, said he felt the applicants had been mis-leading in their estimates of the amount of energy which could be saved by using the wind turbines and added that the turbines could be harmful to the environment.

Jeremy Pike, who spoke on behalf of the applicants, said: “The Carsington Pasture wind farm proposal comes forward as a direct consequence of and in direct response to, potentially catastrophic climate change resulting from man’s influence upon the environment.

“There can be no reasonable doubt as to any of those matters.”

The inquiry is expected to last until Thursday, July 10, and campaigners are expected to give their views to the planning inspector today and tomorrow.

Derbyshire Times

3 July 2008

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