Wind farm developers could be given the geen light to build on Lundy Island and parts of Exmoor, under controversial plans being considered by two Devon councils.
Residents in North Devon and Torridge fear their councils will push ahead with plans to throw open the door to wind farms, in spite of overwhelming opposition.
The councils are looking at proposals to designate all of their areas – including parts of Exmoor and the whole of Lundy Island – as suitable for wind turbines, with some provisos.
A second consultation, in March, had more than 700 responses, of which about 95 per cent opposed the plan.
But council officers are recommending councillors to push ahead with the plan.
In a report to North Devon councillors, officers say that while most people opposed the plans, “the AONB Partnership, National Park Authority, Natural England and the National Trust favoured the policy approach which provides a robust decision making tool that facilitates appropriate proposals as opposed to an approach which would effectively resist all future proposals for wind energy development”.
Under the plan, proposals for wind energy development will be supported where they are within an area identified as suitable for wind energy development and it can be demonstrated that the impact on landscape character is acceptable.
Community-led schemes or those in an area defined as being suitable for wind energy development within an adopted neighbourhood plan would also be approved if there is no unacceptable impact in noise, shadow flicker, vibration and visual dominance.
Penny Riches Mills from the Devon branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England said: “Despite the overwhelming number of objections, including from 55 parish councils, the officers are still putting this forward as an option. This is disgraceful.
“Why have two consultations if the results of people and parish councils are then going to be ignored?
“I trust however that the committee of elected councillors will listen to the people. There is a clear message. There can be no misunderstanding.
“The overwhelming majority of local people don’t want to designate the whole of North Devon and Torridge as an area for wind energy development. Full stop.”
The issue was discussed by a North Devon committee on Monday and Torridge will consider it next Monday. Their recommendations will then go to their executives.