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Plan to build 16 turbines will ‘destroy Bodmin’s beauty’

Plans for two new controversial wind farms affecting Cornish beauty spots are set to divide opinion.

The Duchy’s historic “twin peaks” could soon be surmounted by plans for turbines on Forestry Commission land close to an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The tips of the generators could inch past the Duchy’s highest point, Brown Willy, and its equally famous cousin Roughtor, which crown the windswept Bodmin Moor.

Developers Community Windpower are set to announce fresh plans soon to build 16 turbines standing 426ft tall (130m) near Camelford, the company has said.

Proposals place at least one of the huge towers at an elevation of 952ft (290m) which would stand at 1,378ft (420m) above sea level, at least equalling if nor surpassing Brown Willy and climbing 65ft past Roughtor.

Campaigners believe the scheme – which will be similar to a £55 million project rejected by planners in 2010 – will “interrupt and destroy” a natural beauty spot which is nationally important for its Iron Age and Bronze Age settlements.

Jeremy Varcoe, vice-chairman of the Camel Valley and Bodmin Moor Protection Society, has questioned the decision of the Forestry Commission’s plans to host up to eight of the turbines on its land, in Davidstow woods.

“They are obliged by law to have regard for the enhancement and protection of the AONB,” he added. “It has tried to sell of large areas of forestry land despite being custodians and trustees and this is yet another example of its cavalier attitude and disregard for its responsibilities.”

In a written reply to campaigners, the Forestry Commission argued its responsibilities under the Countryside and Right of Way Act did not override all other considerations.

It claimed its overall role is was “the delivery of government forestry policy and other policies, including those on renewable energy”.

The Commission’s governing body “fully endorsed the development of wind farms on the public forest estate” in 2010″, it added.

In West Cornwall, a new turbine visible from every point across St Ives Bay could be installed off the coast of Hayle as early as 2015.

The single turbine, ten miles off the north coast, would be the first in the UK to be built on a floating platform and would sit above the pioneering Wave Hub.

Wave Hub Ltd is working with the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) – a part public, part private UK-based company – on the £25 million project.

John Pollard, Cornwall councillor for Hayle North and a cabinet member, said reaction to the plans would be “interesting” as it was “something of a departure” from the norm.

Hayle mayor Jayne Ninnes added: “I think it’s a subject that will divide people.”