February 25, 2013

Village ‘upset’ over wind farm appeal

Bethan Evans, Reporter | February 22, 2013 | www.thewestonmercury.co.uk

Angry residents have called for a wind farm appeal to be rejected, stating their village environment is ‘at threat of being raped’ if the plan goes ahead.

A public inquiry has been launched following the decision by Sedgemoor District Council to reject the latest scheme from wind farm developer Ecotricity.

The council refused the building of four wind turbines on a patch of land called Black Ditch, to the south of Poplar Farm in West Huntspill.

During the inquiry, held at Burnham’s Princess Theatre, representations were made by the authority, Ecotricity’s legal team, the Huntspill Wind Farm Action Group and 15 residents.

Ken Hall, West Huntspill’s parish council chairman, said: “The whole village is angry, frustrated and upset at this proposal.

“No direct benefit will come to the village as a result of this development.

“Our village environment and our very way of life is at threat of being raped by this commercial venture.”

The firm’s scheme was recommended for approval by officers, but the plans were then rejected by councillors at a development control meeting last year.

This was due to the impact on the scenery and insufficient evidence of the impact to the area’s eco-system.

During the inquiry Jeremy Pike, Ecotricity’s legal representative, said: “The Government has set out national and regional targets for renewable energy.

“The turbines will include some degree of change in the landscape but this will be of a limited extent.

“A change in what people will see is not a reason for refusal.

“The council officer’s report stated planning permission should be granted. The council members took a different view and we were in the dark to what members were so concerned about.”

Mr Pike also stated that initial opposition from National England and the RSPB has now been retracted, subject to conditions which the company promises to stand by in its proposal.

The Huntspill Wind Farm Action Group has also entered the appeal process as an independent party to support the council’s decision.

Chairman John Wakefield said: “Ninety-eight per cent of residents wrote to the council to oppose the plans. It’s Government policy to take account of public opinion. There are a number of issues on the impact on wildlife, which are critical in reaching the right decision.”

The inquiry will continue at the theatre until tomorrow (Fri) and will resume on Monday, for one day, at Bridgwater Town Hall.

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2013/02/25/village-upset-over-wind-farm-appeal/