Controversial proposals for a wind farm near Burnham-On-Sea have been thrown out by the Secretary of State.
Green energy firm Ecotricity wanted to install four wind turbines at West Huntspill, but its scheme was turned down by Sedgemoor District Council and the company appealed to the Planning Inspectorate, which held an inquiry last year.
The inspector concluded that the turbines should be put up, but Secretary of State Eric Pickles has over-ruled that recommendation and thrown out the plans.
Dale Vince, founder of Ecotricity, said the decision was “anti-wind posturing” and he added that he is “disappointed that Mr Pickles would ignore all expert advice to reject this proposal”.
He said: “We’ve worked diligently through the entire planning process, passed every test, including a public inquiry – only to have our application refused by a man that knows little about the subject.”
“What faith can anyone have in the planning process when this can happen, when the rules are thrown out of the window on a whim?”
Julie Trott, pictured, who has long campaigned against the plans in her role on the Huntspill Wind Farm Action Group, told Burnham-On-Sea.com she is delighted by the judgment.
“I and many residents are over the moon at this decision. It’s absolutely brilliant and the right decision for our area,” she said.
In a letter from the Department of Communities and Local Government, the Secretary of State said he was turning down the plans because they would have a “significant adverse impact on local landscape character, scenic quality and distinctive landscape features”.
He added that while the scheme “offers a considerable benefit” in meeting the need for renewable energy, “the harm that this scheme would cause to the landscape and visual impact” outweighed the benefits.
Sedgemoor district councillor Bob Filmer, who chairs the council’s planning committee, told Burnham-On-Sea.com he too is pleased at the outcome.
“The decision endorses the judgement of Sedgemoor District Council when we turned down the scheme. It’s good to see the Secretary of State has come to the same conclusion as us in supporting the local view that the plans should not proceed.”
There is still a chance that Ecotricity will launch a judicial review against the Secretary of State’s decision.
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