The wind farm rebellion gathered pace yesterday following a landmark High Court ruling.
Campaigners are taking heart from a judge’s decision on Tuesday that the right of villagers to preserve their landscape is more important than renewable energy targets.
Mrs Justice Lang said that four 350ft turbines would harm the character and appearance of Hemsby on the edge of the Norfolk Broads.
Lawyers believe the ruling is a significant test case for planning rules brought in this March and could help more than 300 local groups fighting wind farm proposals.
Lindsay Milson, of the Glencorrwg Action Group in South Wales, said the Norfolk decision gave him hope.
His group opposed a 76-turbine wind farm in Pen Y Cymoedd – Britain’s largest – but it was approved this month.
‘This ruling points the way forward after all these years,’ said Mr Milson, a retired payroll controller. ‘We lost the battle on this one, but the energy companies have been circling us like a pack of wolves.
‘We have some longstanding wind farms, but we don’t want to be surrounded by them.
‘It’s money paid for by our energy bills going to a foreign company and they’ll need enough concrete for a few Olympic pools to build it. You will be able to see it from all over the valley and the Brecon Beacons.’
Ministers insist the £300million project by Swedish developer Vattenhall, featuring 475ft turbines, will boost the local economy and power 200,000 homes – reducing the country’s carbon footprint.
There are 3,744 turbines across the UK producing enough energy to power 3.7million homes, according to trade body Renewable UK.
Britain has pledged to cut carbon emissions by 80 per cent by the year 2020 and building at least 10,000 onshore wind turbines is a key plank of the plans for low-carbon energy to plug the looming energy gap.
Earlier this year more than 100 Conservative MPs wrote to the Prime Minister calling for cuts in subsidies to the ‘inefficient’ turbine industry, which are paid to landowners through a charge on all energy bills.
Lord Carlile, a Lib Dem peer and backer of the National Opposition to Wind Farms campaign, said: ‘The Great Yarmouth decision shows at long last common sense being brought to bear on these kinds of decisions. Landscape value is of huge importance.’
A database run by the Country Guardian newspaper lists 303 active wind farm groups.
Editor Michael Hind said: ‘The Hemsby win could be a very key legal point. It seems that you can’t put things where you want to.’
Applications for turbines have to be made to local councils and around half are refused. But energy companies usually win on appeal to the government’s planning inspectorate.
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