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Six month break for wind turbine inquiry

The inquiry into Ecotricity’s application to erect four large wind turbines on land to the east of the B3081 near the West Bourton turning has now been adjourned, to re-convene on Tuesday 18th September – more than six months on.

The length of the break became inevitable as the original time frame was extended and extended when witness evidence and cross examination took longer than at first predicted.

Rather than bringing the inspector, the teams of lawyers and the experts back for two days in July, and then a further two or more days later when all were available, it was decided to complete the inquiry (which is now expected to take 11 days) in one more sitting, from 18th to 25th September.

Between now and the start of the second phase of the inquiry, the National Planning Policy Framework will be published, and is expected to make changes to the government’s approach to onshore wind power provisions.

These will be assessed and addressed at the start of the second phase in September.

On Wednesday this week the objectors from the Save Our Silton group again flew the blimp high above fields close to where the turbines are planned – not in the correct place, as again they were refused permission by Ecotricity to tether the balloon on the relevant site.

Also on Wednesday, inspector Neil Pope and representatives from Ecotricity, North Dorset District Council, the Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and SOS visited many of the houses and other buildings surrounding the appeal site, and viewed the area from roads and tracks, to gain an idea of the visual impact of the scheme.

A full report of the remainder of part one of the inquiry, completed on Tuesday at The Exchange in Sturminster Newton, will appear in next week’s Blackmore Vale Magazine.