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Turbine planning inquiry resumes

A planning inquiry into a refused application to build a three-turbine wind farm in south Norfolk has resumed this week.

Representatives from the 4Villages action group spoke out against applicants TCI Renewables, who applied to build the 126m-high turbines at Upper Vaunces Farm, off Semere Green Road in the parishes of Dickleburgh and Pulham Market.

Planning inspector Zoe Hill said they had to assess whether the effect on the landscape, living conditions of residents, wildlife and contamination, outweigh the benefits of the renewable energy supply, which applicants say could provide enough electricity for 3,500 homes.

Speaking at South Norfolk Council on Tuesday, the first day of the enquiry, Sheila King of 4Villages raised concerns about the effects of the turbines on birds. She said: “With the Lonely Road reservoir to the south east of the site and the new reservoir to the north west, the turbines would be in the direct flight path of birds.”

But David Hardy, representing TCI Renewables, argued that the reservoir was created for the irrigation of crops and not as a wildlife habitat.

The appeal follows South Norfolk Council’s unanimous decision to refuse the turbines in December 2010 which earned public applause.

Speaking at the time, councillors agreed the turbines were in the wrong place and would have an “unacceptable impact” on the landscape. A new reservoir was then built on land owned by the West farming family next to the proposed site last year.

Other speakers at the inquiry included Mr Vine who raised concerns about the effects of the turbines on bats on behalf of 4Villages along with Mr Davis who gave evidence about noise. Dr John Box responded on behalf of TCI Renewables along with Mr Arnott.

A further site visit was carried out by the planning inspector yesterday morning. At the time going to press the inquiry was still in progress.