The Government’s controversial onshore wind farm policy risks creating a collective site of “immense proportion and impact” in North Devon, according to campaigners.
More than 200 people are expected to attend a public meeting tonight where residents will voice their concerns to MP Nick Harvey over a surge of wind farm and turbine applications.
In the Torridge district, there are 28 large single wind turbines currently in planning, in addition to 14 already approved or operating and seven wind farms.
Scores of applications have also been submitted to North Devon District Council.
Controversy still surrounds England’s largest site, Fullabrook wind farm, betweenBarnstaple and Ilfracombe, which will be fully operational from Monday. The monitoring of noise levels from its 22 turbines will also begin that day after a barrage of complaints from neighbours.
Last month, David Cameron came under pressure from MPs to rewrite Government policy that subsidises the technology.
Supporters say wind farms are essential to cut pollution and that a major expansion of onshore turbines will help Britain meet green targets.
But critics say wind turbines are under-researched, unreliable, inefficient and prone to mechanical failure.
The North Devon campaigners feel the public meeting at Lovacott Village Hall is an opportunity to unite the region’s rural communities whose lives are being affected by wind farms.
A statement said: “As more applications for wind turbines are presented to Torridge and North Devon District Councils by developers and landowners, local communities are beginning to realise the true impact of such schemes; on the quality of life for residents, on the loss of amenity and landscape, on the damage to delicate ecosystems, and on the future economy of this beautiful region.
“We intend to build a strong community alliance opposed to such schemes where the only apparent winners are the developers and landowners and where the loser is the reputation and environment of our region.
“We have seen the true impact as a warning signal in the debacle that is the Fullabrook Wind Farm.”
One Torridge resident, who asked not to be named, said: “There are so many people who utterly loathe these things and whose lives are basically ruined at the moment.
“If they wished to sell their houses now, they would lose tens of thousands of pounds.”
She added: “This meeting started as a small affair but the jungle drums soon began beating and emails have been flying around.
“I hope some of the landowners and farmers who have erected turbines or are planning to will also have the guts to put their side forward.”
Official figures suggest up to 32,000 more wind turbines could be erected across the country in the next 20 years, of which 6,000 would be onshore sites. At present, there are about 3,000 onshore turbines.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding