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Campaigners win battle but insist war is not over

Campaigners opposed to a controversial wind turbine application have moved a step closer to securing victory after the firm behind the plan withdrew its appeal just hours before it was due to be decided.

The application surrounds a plan to build two 147ft (48m) structures on land between Burnaston and Etwall, which has grown into a long-running saga, dragging on for more than a year.

A campaign group called BERATE (Burnaston and Etwall Residents Against Turbine Exploitation) was set up in the wake of the proposals, such was the strength of feeling against the plans in the area.

After the application was rejected by South Derbyshire District Council, an inquiry led by an independent inspectorate was due to begin yesterday.

But the firm behind the plan, Bowler Energy, pulled out at the eleventh hour.

Lisa Brown, chairman of Etwall Parish Council, reacted to the news with caution and warned against any celebration amongst residents, fearing that the company could return with a fresh application, especially as there was a similar withdrawal last May.

The latest withdrawal is believed to have surrounded a wrangle over certification requirements.

Bowler Energy declined to comment when contacted by the Mail but South Derbyshire District Council confirmed the firm had pulled out.

Andrew Holgate, from BERATE, told the Mail about his delight but also warned against celebrating victory and vowed to fight any other applications that come the group’s way.

He said: “We’re delighted. It is significant in that this particular application is dead. It doesn’t necessarily mean that this is the end of the whole thing, but it is significant.”

Mr Holgate also told of his frustration at the lack of recognition that had been given to the perceived threat to public safety the turbines pose.

He added: “The huge concern is that of safety. The site is near a public footpath and is just 400 yards from my house.

“We always hoped that good sense would prevail, but we don’t claim a victory as they have not yet come to the conclusion that is not appropriate to put turbines on that land. We have delayed it and we are ready to fight on if it happens again.”