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Appeal against wind farm refusal

An energy firm has lodged an appeal against a decision to refuse planning permission for a wind farm near West Huntspill.

Two proposals were rejected by district councillors earlier this year, including plans from Ecotricity to build four turbines to the south of Poplar Farm in West Huntspill at Black Ditch and plans from EDF Energy to place five turbines in Withy Farm in East Huntspill.

The applications were refused due to the impact on the scenery and insufficient evidence of the impact to the area’s ecosystem.

Ecotricity has now directed the appeal to Sedgemoor District Council.

Nick Osbourne, Ecotricity spokesman, said: “The council’s grounds for rejection certainly give us good reason to appeal.

“The council’s own planning officer concluded the landscape could accommodate the turbines, and with regards to any potential impact on protected species, we are confident that appropriate conditions and agreements can be put in place to address any concerns.”

But campaigners of the Huntspill Wind Farm Action Group have said they will support the council’s decision.

Member of the action group, Julie Trott, said: “I have always anticipated an appeal from Ecotricity. The fact that EDF has not felt it has grounds to appeal is encouraging.

“I am confident that fighting the appeal on the grounds of the ecology and visual impact are achievable.

“The group is delighted people will be spared the intrusion of these massive inefficient structures and will support the council in any way it can.”

The group hopes it will be able to contribute to professional surveys or commission a new set of photomontages.

When the plans were first proposed and put to district councillors more than 500 residents protested against them, stating the turbines would be too high and too close to their homes.

Ms Trott added: “Although we are confident of winning the appeal we must not be complacent as we believe that if the Black Ditch appeal is successful it would only be a matter of time before another application is submitted for the Withy Farm site or one close to it.”