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Residents reject plans for farm wind turbine  

Credit:  North Devon Journal, www.thisisnorthdevon.co.uk 15 March 2012 ~~

Chawleigh Parish Council has recommended refusing a planning application for a 35 metre wind turbine at Philham Farm.

Around 80 people attended Friday night’s parish council meeting.

Parishioners from Chawleigh, as well as several from neighbouring parishes, made it clear to the council approving the plan would be an unpopular decision.

The meeting got under way with a presentation about the plan from applicant Adam Westaway, who has a large dairy herd at Philham farm.

Mr Westaway talked at length about the positive impact the turbine would have.

But several people appeared unimpressed by his claims that the turbine would “blend into the background quite well.”

Mr Westaway also indicated that, according to testing carried out by the manufacturers, the turbine wouldn’t cause excessive noise.

When the floor was thrown open to the public several people spoke to disagree with figures given by Mr Westaway in his presentation and original application.

Doctor Phillip Ratby, a member of the Campaign to Protect Rural England who lives in Witheridge, described Mr Westaway’s application as “flawed, misleading and incorrect.”

As an engineer and physicist Dr Ratby said the plan to contribute energy to the national grid from the turbine was fundamentally flawed.

He said: “If, as claimed, the energy is going directly to the national grid, the turbine should be sited in a suitable place.

“Most of the electricity generated will be lost to resistance in a rural area like this because it’s being fed to a low speed line. It’s basic physics.”

Dr Ratby also claimed the amount of energy produced by the turbine in 25 years could be produced in just one hour at Hinkley Point nuclear power station in Somerset.

Robert Johnson, who lives in Chawleigh, said: “The turbine will be a massive blot on the landscape for 20 odd years to come.”

Mr Johnson also suggested Mr Westaway was simply aiming to make money with the plan and that Mr Westaway’s plans were not motivated by the environment.

He said: “This application isn’t about carbon footprints, it’s about pound notes in pockets.”

But some people at the meeting commented that making money was not a crime.

Several people from outside of the parish spoke to register their concern in general with the spread of turbines in Devon.

Farmer Peter Cass said: “We have a national grid, so why does the turbine need to be at Philham?

“Mr Westaway could have all the advantages of owning a wind turbine if he was able to invest in one at a site such as Fullabrook, without ruining the local environment.”

Charles Cann, whose property neighbours Philham farm, said: “My wife and I are lucky enough to live in a lovely and peaceful area.”

Mr Cann said his property is 500 metres from the proposed turbine.

“I’ve stood 500 metres from a similar turbine. Although it’s not loud there’s a persistent noise.

“Considering there’s little ambient noise at Philham the turbine would significantly affect our quality of life.”

Having heard Mr Westaway’s presentation and the comments of parishioners the parish council elected to recommend to Mid-Devon planners the plan be rejected.

Two councillors abstained while all others were in favour of recommending rejection.

Source:  North Devon Journal, www.thisisnorthdevon.co.uk 15 March 2012

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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