U-turn on plan for wind turbines
A plan for a giant wind farm in Devon has been approved after a planning inspector reversed a council's decision to reject the scheme.
The proposal to erect nine 103-metre-high turbines at Batsworthy Cross, near Knowstone, on the edge of Exmoor National Park, was turned down by North Devon Council last year – but the developer appealed against refusal.
Yesterday the planning inspector agreed with many of the claims from opponents that the plant would damage the landscape, affect residents' lives and threaten safety on a nearby road.
But he concluded the benefits in terms of reduced greenhouse gas emissions provided by the clean energy outweighed any harm caused.
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Opponents now fear that the approval, following a public inquiry, could see developers resurrect previous attempts at securing planning permission on other sites in the Westcountry.
The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) has described the decision as "appalling" and "inconsistent".
Bob Barfoot, CPRE chairman in North Devon, said: "It is going to affect the National Park – one of the most iconic views in England.
"The inspector says the need to combat climate change is overwhelming, while on the other hand it says all the energy they need from inshore wind is now in the pipeline – it is total madness."
The application, submitted by RWE nPower Renewables, went to public inquiry last June to appeal North Devon Council's decision to refuse planning permission in June 2011.