Proposals for a major wind farm in Somerset have been rejected because they could cause ‘significant harm’ to the landscape.
Broadview Energy Limited had earmarked land next to the M5, between the villages of Rooksbridge and Mark, to construct four wind turbines which it said could provide clean energy for 7,560 households.
Sedgemoor District Council has turned down the application after widespread opposition from residents of nearby villages on environmental and aesthetic grounds.
A spokesman for Broadview Energy has accused Sedgemoor of ‘failing’ to consider the need for green energy when making its decision.
A council spokesman said: “The proposed wind farm, by virtue of its scale and the height and appearance of the proposed turbines, 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.
“The character of the landscape will be significantly undermined and harmed in a location which constitutes a key gateway to Somerset.
“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 authority also said it would be unable to determine that there would ‘not be a significant effect’ on bird populations in the area.
David Maund, a spokesman for wind farm protest group No Pilrow, said: “Campaigners against the Rooksbridge wind farm are extremely pleased that this application has been refused.
“The planning department has made the obvious point that the size of these turbines cannot be mitigated against by landscaping or other measures.
“No Pilrow, supported by local residents, has consistently made these, and other points over and over again during the last two years and we are pleased to see that we and the district council officers are of a like mind on this application.”
Tom Cosgrove, project manager for Broadview Energy, said: “The UK has an urgent need for a new electricity generating plant and, if approved, the Pilrow wind farm would have made a valuable contribution to increasing our energy security and reducing carbon emissions.
“It is our view that Sedgemoor District Council failed to properly take account of this in making its decision and we continue to believe this to be an excellent location for a wind farm.
“Visual change is an inevitable consequence of building tall structures such as wind turbines, however, the expansion of wind energy remains central to UK energy policy.”
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