Torridge and North Devon Councils are being recommended to make no objections to the Atlantic Array – in principle.
Both councils’ planning committees are holding special meetings next week – Torridge on Tuesday and North Devon on Wednesday – to discuss the application for 240 turbines off the North Devon coast.
A report compiled ahead of Torridge’s meeting raised a number of points the council would wish to see resolved before the application is approved by the planning inspectorate.
The report stated the effects upon residents living along the cable route should be minimised as far as possible with a positive communication plan.
The existing noise levels on Lundy should be established before development commences and repeatedly monitored.
The council is also recommended to ask for a resolve on the noise conditions for development works at Alverdiscott substation.
The report for North Devon council also raised a number of issues, including the disruptive effect of the drilling of turbine foundations on the sediment and the effect on local sandy beaches.
Another concern was on the effect of the residents living on the B3232 between Roundswell and Alverdiscott.
Both reports also advised the applicants, RWE npower Renewables, be asked to commit to investing in the local economy.
In its conclusions, both reports said: “This case is finely balanced, but considering the bigger picture and the need to generate energy, together with the fact that the turbines are a long way off-shore (between 8-10 miles) and will appear relatively small on the extensive horizon, they are unlikely to damage the tourism industry of the area and indeed may prove to be a much needed boost to the local economy and the skill base of the area.
“This outweighs the detrimental change in character of this enclosed seascape circled by environmentally protected landscapes, which themselves will be untouched.”
Penny Mills, chairman of the Torridge Campaign to Protect Rural England group, said she was ‘completely shocked’ at the reports.
“Our spectacular coastline, our heritage, a unique marine habitat, will be ruined by this, as well as the onshore work and the construction of a gigantic substation at Alverdiscott.
“No amount of money can compensate the devastation this will cause.
“If Torridge District Council and North Devon Council do support the recommendations to approve this scheme, then they would be seen to be grabbing their 30 pieces of silver (although in this case it’s allegedly millions) to sell out the coastal and maritime heritage of everybody in northern Devon.
“Let us hope that the right decisions are made next week.”
Torridge District Council’s plans committee will debate the report at a special meeting at Bideford Town Hall on Tuesday at 1.30pm.
North Devon Council’s planning committee will discuss the Array the following day at 2.15pm in the council chamber at the Civic Centre.
To view both agendas and the full report, click the links on the right of the page.
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