- National Wind Watch: Wind Energy News - https://www.wind-watch.org/news -

Local voice ignored by planners

Landscape defenders in the Westcountry have backed the CPRE calls for a new “people’s charter”.

Cornwall Protect, a recently-created campaign group which fought council plans for up to 60,000 new homes, said the intervention was “timely”

It said the primary concern at this moment was the impact of renewable energy developments on the countryside, something it said the CPRE had failed to give a high enough profile nationally.

The group said “quality of life and the very existence of animals, plants and humans” depends on good planning decisions.

Spokesman Danny Mageean added: “Too often existing protections and the opinions of local communities have been overridden or ignored in pursuit of other priorities, leading in Cornwall to the creation of a wind farm landscape, and the possible loss of over 5,000 acres of internationally valued countryside to solar arrays.

“The NPPF is very explicit in its protection for the countryside and historic assets, and we need to hold the Government to account for its proper implementation.

“This CPRE initiative is a timely message to local planning authorities and the Planning Inspectorate that a ‘presumption’ in favour of housing will do no service to anyone in the long term.

“Our only regret is that CPRE nationally have not been as high profile in the protection of the countryside from highly intrusive and damaging renewable energy developments.”

Jeremy Varcoe, vice-chairman of the Camel Valley and Bodmin Moor Protection Society, said the problem was in part that the Government’s claimed localism agenda was not being implemented by councils and planning inspectors.

“As a consequence all too frequently local opinion is either disregarded or brushed aside on the ground that planning law favours development and the so-called benefit of the project outweighs any detriment,” he added.

“The result is that too many developments, whether for housing or renewable energy, are approved in what are widely regarded as inappropriate sites.

“In Cornwall at the moment the rash of both wind turbines and solar PV parks threatens to severely damage the beautiful countryside which is one of the county’s main attractions for residents and visitors alike.