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Turbine appeal dismissed by planning inspector  

Credit:  Tom French | Okehampton Times | 27 August 2014 | www.okehampton-today.co.uk ~~

An appeal by developers to build a 67 metre wind turbine near South Tawton has been dismissed by the planning inspectorate. Last September, West Devon planners refused plans from Somerset-based Murex Energy Ltd to build the turbine, with an estimated output of 500 kilowatts, a new access track and associated infrastructure. The hub height would have been 40 metres, with a 67 metre tip height. Planners refused the turbine on the grounds that ‘its siting and size would have a detrimental effect upon the setting of, views and the enjoyment of, nearby listed buildings and conservation area.’ Dartmoor National Park Authority, South Tawton Parish Council and English Heritage were among other organisations to object to the plans. The planning inspectorate upheld the decision to refuse the plans following an appeal from Murex Energy Ltd. In the appeal decision document, the inspector said: ‘The proposed wind turbine would be a tall and prominent addition to the local landscape. The slender form of the tower and its off-white colour would have some limited effect in mitigating its landscape and visual impact. However, its height and the “sweeping” motion of the turbine blades would detract from the unspoilt open attributes of the site and the pleasing contribution it makes to the qualities of this part of the countryside and to the setting of Dartmoor National Park. ‘The wind turbine would comprise a very conspicuous addition to the gently undulating landform and, unlike the A30, it would introduce movement into the landscape at height and in very close proximity to the boundary of the national park. ‘The turbine would become the defining feature of the local landscape where the landscape character effects would be of a high magnitude and of moderate/substantial to substantial significance. This would comprise harm to the character of the area. ‘The harm that I have found, including the impacts upon the setting of designated heritage assets, would be reversible and limited to a 25 year period. ‘However, the adverse impacts include harm to the setting of a landscape that is recognised as being of national importance, as well as harm to some nationally important heritage assets. ‘When all of the above is weighed in the balance, and regard is given to the statutory duty regarding the setting of listed buildings, I find that the benefits of the scheme do not outweigh the totality of the harm.’ Alan Wright, chairman of the South Tawton Wind Turbine Action Group, a lobbying group who fought the development, said: ‘The decision represents a significant victory for the local community and demonstrates that it is possible, by concerted, co-operative action, to successfully oppose inappropriate develop-ment.’ Penny Mills, chair of Campaign for the Protection of Rural England in Devon, said:?‘The impact of this industrial scale wind turbine would have been totally unacceptable in this location – on people homes, on the landscape, on Dartmoor National Park and on heritage. ‘The harm would have far outweighed any small perceived benefit. But there are still another 70 wind turbines in the planning system across the county – in appeal or pending a decision from the local planning authorities. ‘Many of those already permitted have now been built or are under construction – at Bondleigh or Shebbear for example – the impact of these can be seen for miles around. They are a blot on the landscape.’

Source:  Tom French | Okehampton Times | 27 August 2014 | www.okehampton-today.co.uk

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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