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Wind farm plan sparks ‘forest of steel’ concerns

A one-acre plot of Mid Devon could be transformed into a “forest of steel” if a 20-turbine wind farm gets the go ahead, objectors fear.

London-based developer Quiet Revolution hopes the 5KW wind turbines – with a maximum height of 21m – will be erected at Buckhayes Farm near Cove.

The plans have attracted strong opposition from residents near the earmarked site who have sent more than 60 letters of opposition to Mid Devon District Council.

District planning officer Tina Maryan said at a recent meeting of Tiverton Town Council that “a lot of information was missing” from the applicants so far. She said she was encouraging them to withdraw the scheme until they can provide further details so the authority can make an informed decision on whether to grant permission or not.

Andrew Mitchell told the meeting the project could have a major impact on his equestrian business which he runs with his wife at Bampton Down Farm, which is 450m from the site.

“It is the highest point of Mid Devon with views of Exmoor and Dartmoor and is popular for leisure pursuits like horse riding, cycling and walking among people who enjoy peace and quiet,” Mr Mitchell said.

He said he was worried about how the horses in the field next to the proposed site would be affected by shadow and flicker from the turbines.

“We fear for the safety of horses and riders” said Mr Mitchell as many of the event horses he worked with were top quality but could be “highly strung.” “A spooked horse is something to be contended with,” he added.

He also criticised the apparently speculative nature of the application. He said: “Incredibly the applicant says in the document they have submitted with the plans: ‘we believe this development can be commercially viable’. If I went to the bank asking for money and said ‘I believe it could be all right’, they would tell me to go back and do some more homework.”

In research he had undertaken, Mr Mitchell said he had not found other examples of the same density of turbines on land which he said would have the affect of creating a “forest of steel”. He also feared if approved, this application could result in “copycat” applications for more turbines on adjoining land.

Tiverton Town Council’s planning committee agreed on Monday, July 16, they will make a recommendation to Mid Devon planners at a later date, once additional information has become available.

More studies and assessments will be carried out byQuiet Revolution.