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Appeal to stop building of wind farm is dismissed

Noise conditions which will be imposed on a controversial wind farm near Crediton will set a new standard for power companies, campaigners claims.

Michael Hulme’s fight to block construction of nine giant wind turbines in North Devon finally ended in defeat at the hands of Appeal Court judges.

But the judges did support a planning condition which requires developers RES Developments Ltd to adhere to stricter than usual noise pollution rules.

Mr Hulme, 62, who lives at Coxmoor, between Bow and Spreyton, says this is a major step forward in the battle to protect the rights of people who live near wind farms.

“RES has told everyone that there will be no problem with noise from the wind farm yet have fought tooth and nail to get this condition removed,” he said.

“It now means we have a course of action if there is a problem.”

Mr Hulme and his wife Barbara estimate they have spent around £100,000 fighting a marathon legal battle against the wind farm. This has included remortgaging their home.

He and other local residents have expressed concerns that the noise of generators and the swishing of turbine blades will disturb the rural peace, and their sleep.

The first planning permission granted for the scheme was overturned after a court challenge but, after an enormously costly 13-day public inquiry in 2009, a Government planning inspector again authorised RES Developments Ltd to go through with the scheme.

His lawyers argued in the High Court that the whole planning permission should be overturned for a second time.

However, dismissing his appeal, Lord Justice Elias, sitting with Lord Justice Mummery and Lord Justice Patten, said Mr Hulme’s argument was based on “a bizarre and not a benevolent construction” of the planning condition.

Although he acknowledged the condition could have been better drafted, he said it did impose an enforceable obligation on RES Developments to keep noise levels to an acceptable level throughout the 25-year duration of the planning permission.

No one from RES was available for comment.