Campaigners opposed to Purbeck’s Alaska Wind Farm project have won the right to challenge a High Court decision backing the scheme.
Members of DART – Dorset Against Rural Turbines – will now take their case to the Appeal Court, in an attempt to stop the wind farm being built at Master’s Quarry, East Stoke.
The Planning Inspectorate has already given permission for the wind farm, following a lengthy public inquiry last April.
Infinergy, the firm behind the project to erect four turbines – each up to 125m high – went onto win backing from the High Court, after DART subsequently challenged the inspectorate’s decision.
In what now could be deemed a last roll of the dice, DART has secured an Appeal Court hearing. The date of this hearing is yet to be confirmed.
DART chairman Geoff Edwardes says in other European countries no turbines are allowed within 1,500 metres of homes because of turbine noise and visual impact.
“Yet this proposed windfarm is within 500 metres of the scouts’ tent area that is used throughout the year,” he said.
“We produced a national medical expert who stated that turbine noise can damage human health.”
Dorset Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has worked with DART for the past six years in an attempt to block the wind farm.
CPRE chairman Terry Stewart said: “We are fighting to protect the Purbeck Area of Outstanding Beauty and the beautiful Dorset landscapes.”
Before Purbeck District Council’s planning board ruled against the proposal, in March 2011 – after it had earlier agreed it was “minded to approve” the scheme – local renewable energy supporters from Yes2Wind and the Purbeck Environment Action Team (PEAT) said it was a “nonsense” to believe all residents opposed the plans.
Indeed, during the packed public planning meetings in the weeks before PDC’s final decision, many people attended to speak for and against the proposal.
Infinergy has always maintained the majority of Purbeck residents are in favour of the wind farm.
Support of the majority
FOLLOWING news of the Appeal Court development, Master’s Quarry landowner Will Bond – who is a partner in the Alaska wind farm scheme – said: “The Planning Inspectorate’s decision was clear and unequivocal. He agreed with Purbeck District Council’s initial intention to approve the application, and said so categorically.
“DART have already challenged that decision in the High Court, and every one of the several limbs and multiple grounds of challenge that were made were carefully examined in the judge’s written decision. DART then sought permission to challenge the High Court decision, and were refused permission because there was no basis to do so. We have a valid planning consent to build the wind farm which we are implementing with the support of the majority of people in Purbeck.”
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