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Residents mount protest against wind turbines

Proposals for two 100 metre wind turbines near Totnes have been opposed by a newly formed residents group.

South Hams Opposing Commercial Turbines (SHOCT) held a public meeting in which members of the public were told that wind farms were “visible vandalism on an epic scale”.

The meeting focused on plans from the Totnes Renewable Energy Society and their partners Infinergy for two turbines at Luscombe Cross, near Harberton.

But it was also revealed that SHOCT has discovered potential sites for 46 turbines in the South Hams.

A statement from the group said: “Strong opinions were aired from the floor on every issue raised during the question and answer session. It became clear there was no agreement between pro and anti sides, but the final show of hands result those for, against or don’t know was an even, three-way split.”

SHOCT said speakers at the meeting highlighted their concerns including the noise from the turbines and the effect they can have on the landscape, environment and wildlife. A group supporting the wind farm has also been set up to refute claims made by SHOCT.

Supporting Wind Farms in the South Hams (SWISH) say the location of the two turbines has been carefully chosen to minimise any ecological impact on the bird and bat species, and they have paid careful consideration to health and safety concerns and the visual impact of the turbines.

Ian Bright, managing director of the Totnes Renewable Energy Society, said they have received a “tremendous amount” of support for the plans.

He added: “The wind energy proposal consists of up to two turbines and has been scaled to fit in with the local environment.

“Strict planning regulations will ensure that wildlife is not affected by our proposal.

“We are completing 12 months of ecological assessments, studying the birds and bats as well as other fauna onsite and are in consultation with professional conservation bodies. The RSPB says wind farms and wildlife can coexist.”