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Church states turbines plans are for profit

It was confirmed at a meeting on Tuesday night that the Diocese of Exeter’s proposal to put up six wind turbines was to “maximise profits”.

The meeting in Black Torrington was organised by the Campaign to Protect Rural England and saw more than 200 people squeeze into the village hall.

The members of the pubic who attended told Diocese of Exeter representative Martyn Goss unanimously that they did not want the turbines.

Mr Goss, director of church and society within the diocese, confirmed the church would be paying for the project but would not reveal how much would be spent.

He said: “This money is coming from investments, it will be paid for by the Board of Finance, which is a registered company and this project is being used to maximise profits.”

One member of the public asked by what law did the company have to maximise profits.

Mr Goss replied: “It is the law of capitalism.”

The meeting comes a week after it was revealed the Diocese of Exeter had applied for planning permission to site two turbines in Black Torrington, two in Chittlehampton and two in East Anstey, to reduce the church’s carbon footprint.

Stephen McQueenie, the owner of XY Associates, the renewable energy firm behind the project, said the church had been told by the Government to reduce its footprint by 42 per cent by 2020 and by 80 per cent by 2050.

He said: “The company has been contacted by other dioceses around the country, including the General Synod, to see what renewable solutions we can offer.”

The six proposed turbines are 25 metres in height, below the minimum height at which an environmental assessment is required.

Members of the public asked for the church to use other ways of reducing their carbon footprint, such as planting trees, or installing solar panels.

Mr Goss said: “I am here to listen to your views and will be reporting back to the diocese tonight.”

Many attending felt a lack of consultation over the proposed turbines suggested that the church was acting immorally.

One audience member said: “You have no moral justification, the church is supposed to protect the poor but in actual fact it is the poor who will be paying for the subsidised turbines you want to put up.”

For many questions neither Mr McQueenie nor Mr Goss could give answers and said “the next stage of process will provide answers”.

The diocese hopes to put the turbines up by October 1 before the feed in tariff for supplying the National Grid is reduced.