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A £1.3 million wind turbine which was illegally installed last year is facing removal after councillors voted for enforcement action.
The 250ft (76m) structure at Callywith Farm at Bodmin in North Cornwall, was put in place last November, despite a stop notice issued by the local authority after it had earlier refused permission.
Graham and Ron Dingle, whose firm Dingle Brothers owns the site, could also face fines of up to £20,000 after Cornwall Council decided to launch legal action.
At a meeting behind closed doors this week, the council’s east sub-area planning committee voted unanimously in favour of taking enforcement action to secure the wind turbine’s removal.
They also agreed to take legal action with regard to the failure to comply with the terms of the stop notice.
The Dingles run an agricultural supply firm and recycling facility at the site, and said they would have gone out of business if the giant turbine had not been installed.
They argue that the renewable energy generated by the turbine has prevented 632 tons of carbon dioxide being emitted into the atmosphere.
Graham Dingle said more than 100 local people had come out in their support, and that they would be forced to fight the action.
“It is a very stressful situation,” he said. “We didn’t want any of this but the only hope we have is renewable energy. Since it was installed, the turbine has displaced six tanker loads of red diesel.
“We are definitely going to have to fight this. With the way the price of oil is going up, we have no choice.”
But Mick Martin, councillor for Lanivet, said: “This is not about being against wind turbines. Many people who are all for the green agenda were upset by this because of the way they went about it.
“They did not follow due process. They knew the rules, they were issued a stop notice and they decided to go against that. There is no justification for it.
“It has become a real cause celebre in the area, and unfortunately has the potential to run on and on.”
The Dingles now have a month to appeal the enforcement action with the Secretary of State’s Planning Inspectorate before any steps can be taken to remove the turbine, which is more than 100ft higher than the landmark Bodmin Beacon.
A Cornwall Council spokesman said: “The council hopes that the decision to take enforcement action will send a strong signal that breaches of planning control will be pursued by the authority and appropriate enforcement action taken wherever expedient to do so.”
Last month Bodmin parish church rector, the Reverend Graham Minors, said the turbine at Callywith had an adverse impact on funeral services at the Glynn Valley Crematorium, where it could be seen through a large window which was designed specifically to provide a tranquil view for mourners.
“When people lose loved ones, they need a quiet place for reflection, which the crematorium has always provided,” he said.
“That peace and tranquility has now been lost.”
The Dingles tried to cancel their pre-paid order for the £1.3 million turbine after planning permission was initially turned down, but say they were denied by the American manufacturers.
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