Plans for a 250ft wind turbine in “unspoilt” Devon countryside have been turned down by the Planning Inspectorate.
Murex Energy Ltd had applied for a 77-metre high turbine, with a hub height of 50 metres, at Rifton Barton, Stoodleigh, north of Tiverton.
And the firm appealed to the Planning Inspectorate after Mid Devon District Council failed to make a decision in time.
But inspector Philip Major dismissed the appeal saying the turbine’s “height and movement would significantly diminish the existing feeling of isolation and the deep rural ambience around the site”.
“The proposed wind turbine would, as identified in the submitted landscape and visual impact assessment, have significant effects in an area within about 1.5km of the site,” he said in his judgment. “That is an assessment with which I agree.
“The turbine would be a strident vertical element in an otherwise rolling landscape which (apart from Stoodleigh Beacon) has nothing of similar character within it.
“Although the landscape has no formal designation it is undeniably archetypal North Devon countryside of this locality, the character of which is unspoilt in every direction. Even Stoodleigh Beacon seems to be a ‘landmark’ and an accepted part of the local character.
“I regard the landscape character as having a high value and being sensitive to change. In my judgement its sensitivity is more than moderate, and falls between that and being highly sensitive to change.”
He went on: “In this context the wind turbine would seriously detract from the existing character within about 1.5km. Its height and movement would significantly diminish the existing feeling of isolation and the deep rural ambience around the site. Even the A361 has a limited impact despite its relative proximity.”
Mr Major said the turbine would deliver environmental benefits but that did not outweigh its impact.
He concluded: “As noted above there is support for renewable energy both nationally and locally. This is a significant material consideration in favour of the proposal.
“The reduction in carbon dioxide emissions is to be welcomed. The support carries the caveat that any adverse impacts are acceptable or capable of being made so. Renewable energy is a good thing, but not at all costs.
“In this instance I have found, with specific reference to the proposal before me, that there would be significant, demonstrable and adverse impacts to the character and appearance of the surrounding rural area.”
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