WINDFARM PLAN APPEAL DITCHED

By Richard Wright

Friday, May 18, 2007

 

THE PLUG has been pulled on the Wellow Wind Farm by the company that wanted to build six huge turbines on farmland next to an area of outstanding natural beauty.

The decision that Your Energy would not be appealing against IW Council planning refusal was greeted with jubilation by campaigners, who said turbines would despoil the area.

While Your Energy yesterday (Thursday) announced it would not be taking the council’s October decision to appeal, it said it would continue to review options for a windfarm on the Island.

Your Energy managing director Richard Mardon said: “2006 was not a good year for wind energy in the UK. In the four months following release of the Stern Report, seven out of 11 decisions for onshore wind farms were refused by local planning authorities around the country, despite the Stern Report issuing a strong message to decision makers to take urgent action on climate change.

“We hear comments from people such as ‘put turbines offshore, or on brownfield sites – or anywhere except in their local area’ but the fact is, if we are serious about doing something about climate change, we need to take advantage of all types of renewable technology in all areas in the UK.

“From our involvement with people on the Island over the past five years, we know the majority of residents would like to see a wind farm on the Island and we would, too.”

Your Energy claimed the six-turbine application would have provided enough electricity for 6,500 — around ten per cent — of Island homes, a figure disputed by the campaign group The Wight Against Rural Turbines (ThWART).

Just months after Your Energy was formed in 2001 it went public on its plan for Wellow, which kicked up a storm in the West Wight and the biggest planning battle the Island had seen.

Its much-delayed planning application was finally considered in October, councillors overwhelmingly throwing it out after three hours of debate before an audience of 300 people.

The effect the multi-million-pound wind farm would have on the sensitive environment of the West Wight, its residents and wildlife were cited by councillors as reasons for refusal.

But the committee said other reasons put forward by objectors, including the claimed wider effect on tourism and listed buildings, TV interference, noise and killing birds, would not be defendable at any appeal.

ThWART spokesman Ray Tucker said: “We welcome the news the IW Council’s unanimous decision to refuse planning permission for six 100-metre tall wind turbines at Wellow is not going to be taken to an appeal.

“Your Energy’s comment that it would continue to review options for a windfarm on the Island means that ThWART will await clarification and remain organised and active.

“A lot of my work has been concentrating on renewable energy and an 18-month biomass crop trial in the West Wight, which is halfway through, is looking promising.”

Vestas Blades had said it wanted to use Wellow for research and development and without a nearby site, that work would inevitably shift towards Denmark and new facilities in Singapore.

The company pointed to the fact that its future business relied on wind farms like Wellow because other factories were taking over blade manufacture for the Newport factory’s current market.

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