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Wind turbines appeal hears last of evidence 

Credit:  Stroud Life | www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk 12 September 2012 ~~

An inquiry, to determine whether a proposed wind farm in the Berkeley Vale can go ahead, has reached its final stages.

Government inspector Richard Thomas visited the site at Standle Farm in Stinchcombe on Tuesday where Ecotricity hopes to build four 120m turbines.

Mr Thomas then heard evidence yesterday from Ecotricity and Stroud District Council, whose members have earlier rejected the proposal.

The hearing, at the council’s Ebley Mill headquarters, was expected to continue through Thursday. The final stage of proceedings focused on whether the proposal complied with national planning and renewable energy regulations.

David Hardy, representing Ecotricity, said that the wind turbines would have a less-enduring impact than other forms of energy generation.

“At the point of decommisioning, the landscape of Berkeley Vale would be exactly the same as someone would see today,” he argued.

“There’s no permanent damage to the landscape infrastructure.”

He also referred to other planning inquiries, including a Chelveston in Bedfordshire where a Government inspector had allowed a nine-turbine wind farm to go ahead, stating: “The reduction in carbon emissions must carry significant weight in planning decisions.”

Paul Smith, representing SDC, said; “We have acknowledged that the need for renewable energy is a factor and it is the inspector’s decision to decide how much weight is applied to that need.”

Mr Smith explained that SDC had supported renewable energy elsewhere, and that each scheme should be assessed individually.

Residents and campaigners from the Save Berkeley Vale action group attended the hearing.

They had argued that the impact of the turbines on neighbours, the nearby Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and on heritage sites like Berkeley Castle were all reasons to refuse the Ecotricity scheme.

“We are still hopeful and confident that Ecotricity will not get permission. To build turbines on Standle Farm is totally inappropriate, because of the impact on the AONB and the proximity to a number of properties,” said Jack Sant, chairman of Save Berkeley Vale.

A January hearing saw both sides present evidence on the scheme’s visual and landscape impact.

Source:  Stroud Life | www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk 12 September 2012

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