A planning inspector heard two wind farm projects would have a “serious detrimental impact” on the nearby community.
Protest groups’ counsel David Hart QC told inspector Robert Mellor that energy companies E.On and Renewable Energies had underestimated the impact the turbines would have on wildlife and residents.
Mr Mellor heard closing statements from both firms, West Norfolk Council and protest groups, Creake Action for Protecting the Environment (CAPE) and Against Turbines at Chiplow (ATAC).
The inspector will announce in April whether he will overturn the council’s decision to refuse planning permission for RES to build six turbines on land off Jack’s Lane, Barwick, near Stanhoe, and for E.On to put up five turbines on a site at Chiplow, near Syderstone.
Mr Hart, with fellow barrister Asitha Ranatunga, said in his closing statement: “The appellants have underestimated the cultural heritage impacts, ornithological impacts, and residential amenity impacts (noise of the proposals) and overstated the renewable energy case for approval.”
Both barristers outlined how the proposals would affect the Iron Age Bloodgate Hill Fort, along with wild life such as stone curlews and pink-footed geese.
Mr Ranatunga said: “The overall message you have heard from local residents is that the countryside here is unspoilt, tranquil and has been relatively undisturbed for hundreds of years. That is its value and it is enjoyed by the vast majority for those reasons. The effect of introducing large scale commercial wind turbines into this area will change its nature and be harmful to that valued countryside.”
Alexander Booth, acting on behalf of the council, told the hearing that councillors were “wholly justified” in rejecting the proposal on landscape grounds as the harm would be “acute, substantial and unacceptable”.
Mr Booth spoke of the impact of siting wind farms on “two of the four points of the compass” around Syderstone.
He said: “The reality for persons resident in or visiting that settlement is that they would be confronted with the domineering presence of wind farms wherever they left it heading in a north or westerly direction, or when returning to it heading south or east.”
Jeremy Pike, for E.On, said the Chiplow development would have little effect on the historic environment and there was no ornithological case to answer.
Mr Pike said the East of England is “manifestly not delivering renewable energy”.
He said: “Future power generation must come from somewhere, and that somewhere is onshore wind in very large measure. No-one is entitled to say that they should not see wind turbines; no-one is entitled to say that they should not have to see wind turbines in the same view as listed buildings or other protected assets.
“If a wind farm is not acceptable at Chiplow, then no wind farm can be considered acceptable anywhere in lowland England. It really is, with respect, as simple as that.”
Marcus Trinick QC, for RES, discussed safety, noise, landscape and wildlife in his submission.
He also highlighted the importance of meeting renewable targets. He said: “If for example you determined that there would be a serious impact on residential amenity then I would find it hard to argue persuasively that planning permission should be granted. But that is not the case here.”
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