Wind farm campaigners prepare to fight Sedgemoor projects
Credit: Huntspill wind farm campaigners prepare for fight | By Kirsty James | 22nd October 2013 | www.thisisthewestcountry.co.uk ~~
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Campaigners against two major wind farm projects outside of Highbridge have once again drawn their battle lines.
The Planning Inspectorate is close to announcing a decision on whether to grant a scheme by Ecotricity in West Huntspill, while EDF Energy has announced it will re-submit its application for a separate project at Withy Grove, East Huntspill.
As reported, the Huntspill Wind Farm Action Group has been fighting both plans.
Julie Trott, communications officer for the action group, told the Weekly News: “The industrial-sized wind turbines will dominate homes in close proximity and the local landscape for miles around due to the flat character of the Somerset Levels.”
An application by Ecotricity for four 120m turbines on land south of Poplar Farm, known as Black Ditch, was rejected by Sedgemoor councillors last April.
But Ecotricity, also known as Next Generation, argues Black Ditch is an appropriate site and a spokesman added the council’s own planning officer recommended the plans for approval.
It appealed to the Planning Inspectorate, which is now due to submit a report to the Secretary of State, who will make the final decision around January 2014.
Meanwhile EDF Energy Renewables is holding consultation events on October 23 at Woolavington Village Hall from 11am to 8pm and on October 24 at East Huntspill Village Hall from 11am to 5.30pm.
The exhibition will include photomontages to help visitors understand what the wind farm will look like from various locations. The project team will also answer any questions, and visitors will be encouraged to submit comments, which will be used in an Environmental Impact Assessment.
Ms Trott added: “Although a planning application has not as yet been submitted by EDF, the Huntspill Wind Farm Action Group are well prepared to fight any such application as vehemently as before.
“The majority of people within our community do not want these inefficient industrial machines imposed upon us, despoiling the enjoyment we get from our homes and the pleasant, peaceful countryside that surrounds us.”
Dennis Garry, Onshore Wind Development Manager for EDF Energy Renewables, said the firm has revised its application to carry out additional environmental investigations to answer specific points raised by the council’s planning committee.
He added: “Even though the plans may not have changed a great deal, we wanted to take the opportunity to re-consult the community on the revised application and to answer any questions people might have.
“We continue to believe the site is an excellent location for the size of wind farm proposed.
“The fact that the council’s own Planning Officer recommended our original application for approval demonstrates the project has merit.”
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