A councillor is urging residents to make their views on a proposed ‘Big Field Wind Farm’ heard ahead of a planning inquiry, writes Amy Dennis.
But the renewable energy company behind the proposal, Good Energy, says there is ‘a strong body of local support for the project’.
Good Energy’s original proposal for the Big Field Wind Farm – eleven wind turbines that would be sited on farmland between Week St Mary, Jacobstow, Warbstow, North Petherwin and Whitstone – was refused by Cornwall Council in October 2014.
This refusal could be overturned – the plans are due to be heard by a planning inspector at a planning inquiry in Launceston Town Hall, starting next Tuesday, April 26. The public inquiry is expected to last at least six days.
Liberal Democrat Cornwall Councillor for Poundstock, Nicky Chopak, said she and Communities Against Rural Exploitation (CARE) – a group in opposition to the plans – are urging the planning inspector to reinforce Cornwall Council’s decision to turn down the plans.
Cllr Chopak said: “Since that refusal, a ministerial statement in June 2015, was issued to ensure developers had fully addressed the planning impacts and that the proposal had the support of the local community. I argue that the appeal should fail on these grounds alone.”
She also raised concerns about noise impacts on surrounding residential properties.
“I am urging local residents to ensure their voice continues to be heard, either by writing to the Planning Inspectorate at Temple Quay House,Temple Quay, Bristol BS1 6PN quoting reference APP/00840/W/15/3014917 or in person at 10am on Tuesday, April 26 at Launceston Town Hall.”
James Ryle, communities manager for Good Energy, said: “We know there is a strong body of local support for the project, including some of the residents living closest to the site. We recognise there has been some vocal opposition all along, but only a relatively small minority of the local population has objected to the proposal.
“We have listened to those concerns and have addressed all the planning impacts identified through lengthy consultation with the local community. As a result, we will be presenting evidence to the inquiry to show that our proposal satisfies the requirements of the Written Ministerial Statement.
“The supplementary evidence we submitted to the Planning Inspectorate last month included proposals for new, more efficient turbines that will deliver a greater power output allowing the wind farm to operate subsidy-free. The total maximum height of the turbines to blade tip is unchanged from our original proposal at 125m.
“The use of the higher capacity turbines would change the noise profile of the wind farm under different wind conditions, when compared with the original configuration. At some wind speeds they would be noisier, at others less so. However standard operating procedures controlling the noise levels of the turbines at different wind conditions will ensure the wind farm operates within noise limits set down by government guidance at all times.”
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