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War Horse author takes a stand on wind turbines  

Credit:  Western Morning News | December 07, 2014 | www.westernmorningnews.co.uk ~~

Author Michael Morpurgo has pitched into the battle against a 250-foot (77m) wind turbine in the “fragile” Devon valley which provided the backdrop to his War Horse story.

Anti-renewable campaigners in the area have long complained that a such masts would ruin the setting for the First World War epic, now a successful stage play and hit Steven Spielberg movie.

The Somerset-based form behind the single turbine said the project would support a local pet food company by replacing two diesel generators.

Murex Energy said “virtually no properties” were in eyesight of the turbine and the two nearest neighbours had signed up to get cheap power from the plant.

The scheme at Hawkdown Farm, Dowland – dubbed the Two Moors Turbine – is to be re-considered by the Planning Inspectorate.

It was turned down by a planning officer at Torridge District Council without being heard in public by the planning committee.

Mr Morpurgo – a freeman of West Devon – has responded to the appeal with a paean to the “precious corner of England” where he founded his Farms for City Children charity and still lives.

He said: “This corner of England is unique. Far from any urban sprawl, far from main roads, it is a patchwork of fields and hedges planted some of them a thousand years ago, a place of quiet villages, of ancient churches, of deep lanes, of woods and deep river valleys.

“Of course change has to happen, is needed, indeed is often welcomed by local people. But massive great turbines that would dominate this fragile and tranquil landscape they do not want, and have made that quite clear.”

Mr Morpurgo has previously opposed plans for a 145ft turbine at Coombe Farm, very close to Iddesleigh, home to the village hall which sets the scene for the story of a young farm boy and his horse, Joey.

The scheme was turned down by West Devon Borough Council and later by the Planning Inspectorate.

Earlier this year a 250ft turbine at Bryony Hill Farm between Iddesleigh and Winkleigh, was also turned down by Torridge District Council but is now subject to an appeal.

The Murex application at Hawkdown Farm could not be called in for public debate by the ward councillor and chairman of the plans committee, Rosemary Lock, because she has family connections to the applicant.

Murex director Steve Ellam said: “In terms of a balancing exercise we don’t feel the planning officer made the right decision.

“This would have benefited a local business by giving them a strong green marketing angle popular with their customers.

“It is in an area with high wind speeds, not seen by many houses at all and the two nearest neighbour asked to have electricity through the project – it ticked a lot of boxes.”

Local campaigner Ivor Davidson said Mr Morpurgo “captured the mood perfectly” in the area.

Source:  Western Morning News | December 07, 2014 | www.westernmorningnews.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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