Campaigners against a proposed wind farm in Wiveliscombe are celebrating after developers pulled the plug on plans.
Brendon Energy has decided not to proceed with a planning application to build ‘one or possibly a small number’ of turbines on the hills surrounding town.
Bosses made the decision following a public consultation which attracted a mixed response to their proposals and saw the creation of action group Friends of the Hills (FOTH).
FOTH spokesman Bruce McIntosh said: “We welcome Brendon Energy’s decision not to pursue its plan for wind turbines up to 250 feet high in the Wiveliscombe area.
“Brendon Energy’s own survey showed that a clear majority of those who expressed a strong opinion were against such a development.
“FOTH supports renewables which have a low visual impact on their environment and which enjoy the full support of the community.
“Hydro schemes and solar PV mounted on the roofs of industrial, agricultural or community buildings often meet these criteria whereas wind turbine developments almost invariably do not.
“We think Wiveliscombe is not appropriate for what Brendon Energy proposed but we wish them well with their hydro schemes and roof mounted solar PV schemes.”
As previously reported in the County Gazette, a survey sent to more than 2,000 households showed 51% of people support the idea of a wind project.
However, the response rate was only 15%, leaving many questioning how true a reflection of public opinion it was.
In August, Brendon Energy chief executive Gareth Hoskins said no definitive site had been chosen and a formal application would only be submitted “if the community is happy”.
An opinion-splitting column run in the County Gazette by former Fleet Street editor and Wiveliscombe resident Rosie Boycott also sparked debate at somersetcountygazette.co.uk
This week, a statement by Dave Mansell, Ian Ayre and Richard Brunning of Brendon Energy said they have decided to not push ahead with the plans.
It added: “We were most encouraged by the high levels of support among younger generations.
“However, we were surprised by some strong reactions against the idea of a modest wind energy scheme, which would have made a small contribution to tackling a very serious global problem.
“We have seen community wind power projects successfully established in other parts of the UK and we would have loved to do the same in our area.
“We did not intend to impose a turbine on people living nearby who did not want it and we would have consulted and listened carefully if we had got to the stage of selecting and proposing any sites.”
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