After 12 years of legal wrangling and six days of public debate, the decision over wind turbines between two mid Norfolk villages now rests in the hands of a government minister.
The fourth public inquiry into plans for two proposed 100-metre wind turbines in Church Lane, between Shipdham and Bradenham, came to a close yesterday.
Over the six days, planning inspector John Watson heard how, according to those against the wind turbines, the predicted noise the structures would make had been understated and that they would have a detrimental impact on the surrounding area which has two grade-I listed churches and dozens of homes within 1,500m of the site.
It was also heard how, according to Ecotricity, that larger turbines have been put up in other parts of East Anglia and these planned wind turbines would help the government meet its targets for renewable energy.
Mr Watson closed the inquiry yesterday and will pass on his recommendations onto the Secretary of State, Eric Pickles, who will make his decision in due course.
Meanwhile, those involved in the inquiry were due to visit the site today.
During his closing submissions, Jeremy Pike, on behalf of Ecotricity, said the position of Breckland Council, which refused the planning application last year, “was and is unreasonable”.
He said: “It remains the case as a matter of planning policy and national needs that renewable energy is and remains urgent. The landscape of the local area is undesignated and no more noteworthy than any other part of Breckland’s countryside where wind turbines have already been built…
“The handful of residential properties close to the turbines will experience change but none will have an unfiltered view of the turbines and nothing which would mean they would suffer an unacceptable impact.
However, Mike Horn, for Breckland Council, said: “The issue of noise clearly needed to be assessed and we have been at this public inquiry for six days, of which four and a half days have been on the issue of noise.
“I think our members acted very honestly and morally by doing what they did, contrary to officers’ recommendations, and they are to be commended for doing so.”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding