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Pilrow wind farm scheme turned down by Sedgemoor planners

Planners have today thrown out a massively controversial wind farm project near Rooksbridge.

Sedgemoor District Council planning officer Rebecca Miller said Broadview Energy’s scheme, for four 130-metre turbines on land at Pilrow Farm, would “represent an unacceptable visual intrusion into the flat landscape of the Somerset Levels, particularly in respect of the harm to the views to and from Brent Knoll.”

Her report added: “A defining characteristic of this part of the Somerset Levels is their flat and level nature; the verticality of the proposed turbines will be at odds with this character and will significantly undermine it.

“The character of the landscape will be significantly undermined and harmed in a location which constitutes a key gateway to Somerset.

“This adverse landscape impact cannot be mitigated against with additional landscaping or other measures.

“The local planning authority is of the opinion that the visual harm that would occur to the landscape would not be outweighed by the benefits that the development would bring in terms of tackling climate change and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.”

The scheme has attracted huge interest, with nearly 800 people writing to the district council to register their opinions.

Speaking in September, at the end of the consultation period on the project, David Maund, a spokesman for the campaign group NoPilrow, said: “From the outset of its campaign, NoPilrow has said the vast majority of residents did not want this industrial wind farm forced upon them.

“The parish councils of Badgworth, Chapel Allerton, Compton Bishop, Mark, Brent Knoll and East Brent and Rooksbridge have all objected to the proposal.

“The vast majority of comments on the Sedgemoor planning site are objections, clearly illustrating the wishes of the community.”

However, also speaking in September, Tom Cosgrove, Broadview project manager, said: “If you take away all the scaremongering and hype being pedalled by a minority of vocal campaigners, this is a proposal to generate green electricity from a sustainable, domestic resource, a principle which the majority of the British public are in favour of.

“Our recent experience on the streets of Burnham has been that the majority of people asked, both residents and tourists, were in favour of the proposals.”