Another round of consultation is to be had over the North Devon and Torridge Local Plan – with concerns expressed about what it could mean for wind energy in the region.
Campaign to Protect Rural England and Ukip members attended a meeting of North Devon Council’s executive yesterday where members were being asked to approve several recommendations so that the document could go out for consultation once more.
Having considered comments to the last consultations at the end of 2015, the further consultation will be carried out on the following areas:
a policy for starter homes on exception sites such as underused and unviable employment land
the preferred policy for wind energy development
A total of 79 responses were received during the last consultation regarding the council’s wind energy policy.
It must consider identifying areas suitable for wind energy development..
It was recommended at yesterday’s week’s meeting that the council went out to consultation on a policy whereby wind energy development would be accepted if it lay within the “Area Identified as Suitable for Wind Energy Development”.
A map produced by the council shows the whole of North Devon and Torridge as suitable for wind turbines of various heights.
But Campaign to Protect Rural England said it was “shocked and dismayed” at this, as currently no areas are defined as suitable for wind energy development.
A letter sent to Geoffrey Cox, MP for Torridge and West Devon, from James Wharton MP in January stated that councils were not required to identify suitable areas for wind energy development in their local plans.
However Government policy (National Planning Policy Framework) requires local authorities to have a positive strategy to promote renewable energy which is why the consultation needs to be carried out.
Speaking at the meeting councillor Rodney Cann said he thought North Devon had “more than met its commitment” regarding wind energy.
“We thought we had to have this area in our plan but it seems to be a grey area,” he said. “I will be voting against this proposal unless we can get clear advice.
“I don’t think we can afford to hold up the local plan. Let’s get it out for consultation and listen to the arguments and get clarity about what the Government view is.”
Members agreed the recommendations.
The further consultation will start on Thursday, February 11 and will last for six weeks. Residents can view the consultation documents and have their say using the councils’ online consultation page. Paper copies can also be viewed at the councils’ offices and at libraries across North Devon and Torridge.
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