November 22, 2012

Groups opposed to two turbines being approved

By Philippa Jenkins | North Devon Journal | November 22, 2012 |

The Campaign to Protect Rural England and the chairman of North Devon’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty are against a decision to allow two 100-metre wind turbines near Bude.

The turbines will now stand on the edge of the AONB at East Youlstone, 7km from Embury Beacon.

They will be taller than Big Ben but despite this the Planning Inspectorate overturned the decision of Torridge District Council, who refused the application in July last year.

The application was refused on a number of grounds including the proximity to the AONB, near-by dwellings, and already operational turbines at Crimp 3km away.

Following the refusal the developers behind the project Airvolution Energy Limited appealed the decision.

Planning inspector David Rose compiled a report which was made public last week after a planning inquiry in the summer.

He came to the conclusion that there were not sound grounds on which the application could be refused.

In the report he states: “The National Planning Policy Framework indicates that great weight should be given to ‘conserving landscape and scenic beauty in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty’, given their highest status of protection in relation to landscape and scenic beauty.

“I have already found that the proposal would not conflict with those objectives.

“Although the proposed turbines would appear as noticeable features in the outlook from the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, their presence would not be immediate and they would be perceived as being within a managed agricultural landscape of notably different appearance to the Culm grasslands and the wilder character of Bursdon Moor.”

The inspector has made the condition that the turbines are erected within the next three years and that if the turbines don’t produce any electricity after a year of being erected they will be dismantled.

Rose Day, chairman of North Devon Coast AONB said: “While we recognise and sympathise with the need for renewable energy the NDCAONB Partnership is very concerned about the continual encroachment and cumulative effect of large vertical structures affecting views from this Nationally Protected Landscape.”

Penny Mills from the CPRE Torridge group said: “We are extremely disappointed with the inspector’s decision, particularly bearing in mind the proximity to the North Devon AONB.

“And yet again, local opinion is just brushed aside.

“All this talk of the Localism Act, and giving more say to the local people, is frankly meaningless.

“The inspector’s decision will leave some Torridge residents living not in a wind farm landscape, but in the very wind farm itself.

“At the rate that wind turbines and wind farms are being approved, I’m afraid the whole Torridge landscape is being dramatically altered.”

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