A fighting fund to oppose windfarms is to be launched by the Dorset Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).
Money is going to be needed to fight windfarms and planning appeals, warns Richard Nicholls, CPRE’s county branch chairman.
An appeal fund is to be started in the next few weeks.
At the West Dorset group’s handover to new officers, members heard this had been one of its busiest years ever – despite an overall reduction in planning applications.
Outgoing chairman Nick Heape said the charity had spent a great deal of time and energy on applications for renewable energy applications, including solar farms, as well as opposing some of the government’s re-writing of planning regulations.
Mr Nicholls, from Bridport, warned that the cost of opposing unsuitable windfarms was likely to be over ten thousand pounds.
He said: “An appeal over a site near Wareham is likely to need at least £15,000 just to take on legal specialists in the initial stages while similar figures are likely to be involved over a turbine site near Gillingham.”
Both appeal hearings are expected to be heard in the coming months.
He added: “Somehow or other we will need to help finance these appeals, at least in the initial stages.
“We won’t be able to go all the way and find £30,000 or £40,000 of legal costs but we should go some of the way and give what support we can so these local people don’t feel they are alone.”
CPRE Dorset is appealing for more members to join.
It is based at the Little Keep, Bridport Road, Dorchester, and the launch of the financial appeal will be in the next few weeks.
Other issues of concern aired at the meeting included the government’s changes to the National Planning Policy Framework which the meeting heard might end agreements which local councils were able to use to argue for a minimum number of affordable homes on new schemes. There were also fears that the same rules could end restrictions on developing ‘greenfield’ land.
Mr Nicholls told the meeting that there had also been a lot of local disquiet about plans by local councils to set up more gipsy and traveller sites in Dorset in response to government guidelines.
“If there are going to be problems with the sites which are being proposed we would like to hear about it quickly so that we can respond to the report which Dorset councils have paid consultants more than £200,000 to produce,” he said.
West Dorset group officers elected for the coming year are – Andrew Thomson, Reg Hanbury, Sue Cumming, Peter Chance, Kate Geraghty, Ken and Eileen Harding and Richard Nicholls.
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