Hundreds of people packed a meeting to hear views on a major wind farm development that could stand as tall as the second-highest point in Cornwall if it is approved.
Campaigners, residents and parish councillors turned out to discuss the plans, with those against the scheme urging the public to do all they could to stop plans for a wind farm that would sit south west of Davidstow Woods on the edge of Bodmin Moor and would consist of 16 turbines each 130 metres tall. If built, the development would be of equal size to nearby Roughtor, at 400 metres above sea level.
The revised plans currently under consideration by Cornwall Council planners are the third submitted by developers Community Windpower Limited.
The company previously had one bid turned down by Cornwall Council before dropping its appeal.
More than 200 people, attended the meeting at Clease Hall in Camelford last night after it was called by Davidstow Parish Council, which had previously objected to the plans. The hall soon filled to standing-room only – with crowds spilling out into the hall as the meeting began.
Parish council chairman Julie Dowton, who chaired last night’s meeting, said: “Any way you look at it, this is a major development. We felt as a parish council it was really important to allow everybody an opportunity to tell us what they think.”
Richard Vyvyan-Robinson , the chairman of the Camel Valley and Bodmin Moor Protection Society, speaking at the meeting, said: “Bodmin Moor is unique, its wildness and freedom from all kinds of construction.
“(The wind farm) would make a terrible visual intrusion in to the space and it really shouldn’t be allowed.
“There are many technical reasons why this shouldn’t happen. Mainly the desecration of our landscape. Many people love Bodmin Moor, not only us in Cornwall but people from all over the UK. We must do all we can to stop this application.”
Scott Mann, Cornwall councillor and Conservative candidate for North Cornwall, said: “I saw the original application and I voted for refusal. I can’t understand why we are building all these large turbines in Cornwall.
“I think it’s a blot on our landscape. It’s about time we said no to central government and sorted it out for the people of Cornwall.”
Caroline Hooper, Church treasurer at nearby St Breward Parish Church, earlier said it was of the upmost importance to protect a site of “international importance”.
She said: “I am completely and utterly opposed to it.
“Whatever your views are about wind turbines this is a step too far. There should be nothing on the moor and it should be protected from that sort of development, otherwise there’s no point having an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty status at all.”
It was frequently asked at the meeting why the fresh application had been submitted after the previous refusal. Ron Mucklestone, from Be Green Cornwall, said: “My personal opinion is if there wasn’t money in it they wouldn’t do it. The fact is the company has no control over Government policy. If they didn’t make money out of it they wouldn’t invest in it.”
If built, each turbine in the Davidstow Community Windfarm would generate in the region of 3MW of electricity, providing a total installed capacity of 48MW.
Tom Hoskin, 19, from Altarnun Parish Council, was one of the few in favour of the proposal. He said; “Almost 100% of the people in that room are from the older generation. Visual impact doesn’t really effect me. I don’t understand the argument because I like them, I like the look of them as I drive by.”
Community Windpower Ltd, which is also behind several developments in Scotland, has proposed that net profits from one of the turbines will be donated to the community for the 25-year lifetime of the project.
The company is working on the development in conjunction with BeGreen Camelford, a not-for-profit organisation funded by it, that has been operating in the community since 2009.
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