Campaigners against a nine-turbine wind farm in North Devon are hoping the site’s planning approval could be overturned after a legal query has been taken to the High Court.
The 103-metre turbines at Batsworthy Cross, near Knowstone, gained planning consent in October after a planning inquiry – six years after the developers behind the project, RWE npower renewables, submitted the planning application to North Devon Council.
But now a member of the Two Moors Campaign group, who wishes to remain anonymous, believes they have found a legal error in the planning inspector’s decision which could mean the planning consent will have to be withdrawn.
Caroline Harvey, the secretary of the campaign group, said: “There is no other way to challenge at this stage but I wouldn’t say it is the last hope, the person wouldn’t have lodged the appeal if there wasn’t the thought this could succeed.
“The group is clubbing together to fund the appeal, we have already spent tens of thousands of pounds in objecting to the wind farm. “At this stage we are just waiting to see what comes of it.”
RWE Renewables said that the appeal is a set back but will not hold up the progress in preparing to erect the turbines as the planning consent still stands.
Lewis Elder, RWE npower renewables’ developer said: “The planning application for Batsworthy Cross Wind Farm was examined at a comprehensive public inquiry.
“Batsworthy Cross is a well-designed and sited wind farm. We are confident that due process has been followed throughout the inquiry.
“We believe there is no merit in this challenge which we see as a temporary setback.
“Activity at Batsworthy Wind Farm does not have to stop while this appeal is heard and we fully expect the consent to be upheld, so we will be progressing the project as intended since the planning consent remains valid.”
The wind farm could generate enough clean energy to supply the equivalent of approximately 8,700 homes.
Mr Elder said the local community stood to receive an investment of £18,000 per year.
“We would normally expect approximately 25 per cent of the investment we make into a wind farm to be typically placed with local businesses.”
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