Landscape campaigners are to be given a master class in fighting unwanted housing and renewable energy projects from Westcountry activists in the region’s wind farm hotspot.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) is holding a seminar in Devon this month, supported by Conservative MP Anne Marie Morris.
The event is to highlight the “alarming rate” at which housing schemes, wind farms and solar projects are being submitted to councils for planning permission.
Speakers from the CPRE include Torridge district chairman Penny Mills and Dr Phillip Bratby, an expert and fiercely vocal critic in the field of renewable energy.
Drawing on their experience fighting dozens of applications around North Devon – an area local Tory MP Geoffrey Cox describes as being at breaking point – they will present a free guide to local conservationists struggling to navigate the complex system of planning guidelines.
Mrs Mills said: “Devon’s countryside and coastline are facing huge threats as the drive for economic growth increasingly takes precedence over environmental protection.
“Throughout the County, large numbers of proposals for wind, solar and housing developments are being applied for at an alarming rate while at the same time, the Government says it is committed to devolving power to local communities.
The CPRE in Devon says it is increasingly being asked to advise and assist with planning applications, prompted by a renewed commitment to supporting local campaigns championed by Communities Minister Eric Pickles.
It says there is “much confusion” about how people can make their voices heard in relation to the Localism Act, the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and local plans, etc.
Energy consultant Dr Bratby, will explain how in a large part of Devon – particularly in the north west – large commercial renewable energy installations are not only altering the landscape but the fundamental use of the agricultural land.
Miss Morris, the MP for Newton Abbot, will give a presentation to “provide some clarity” on Government policy.
The free morning seminar takes place at Newton Abbot Racecourse and Conferencing Centre on Friday February 21.
For more information and to reserve seats people are asked to contact Malcolm Avery on 01643 703103 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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