March 2, 2011

Residents delighted as Dorset turbine plan turned down 2 March 2011

Hundreds of families and businesses were celebrating last night after planners rejected an application to build four 120-metre wind turbines close to the Somerset-Dorset border.

Residents across the Blackmore Vale, and North Dorset MP Bob Walter, had condemned the proposal by Gloucestershire-based Ecotricity to build a wind farm at Silton, near Gillingham.

Mr Walter had said the turbines would “despoil Dorset’s cherished landscape and imperil our tourist economy”.

He, and members of local action group Save Our Silton, also argued the turbines would be in such a sheltered location that they would need permanent subsidies.

North Dorset District Council moved yesterday’s meeting of its development committee from Blandford to the new Riversmeet Leisure Centre at Gillingham because so many members of the public were expected to attend.

The council had received more than 1,700 letters of objection to the proposal, and action group members paraded banners outside the building.

The meeting began at 10am and lasted more than six hours.

Dozens of members of the public spoke, together with representatives from Ecotricity. Only one member of the public spoke in favour – a representative of a Facebook group called ‘I Think Wind Turbines Would Look Cool in Gillingham’.

Members of the group, most of whom are under 30, had accused Save Our Silton of being composed of “nimbies” and “crumblies”.

After the meeting Save Our Silton member Chloe Briggs said: “It is a big relief.

“It has been nerve-wracking. Lots of businesses would have been affected and we heard lots of personal stories.”

The application was the second by Ecotricity for the site. An application for six turbines was turned down by the council in July 2009.

The company argued it always wished to bring maximum environmental benefit with minimum environmental impact and that the turbines would make an important contribution to green energy supplies.

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