Campaigners celebrate wind farm victory

CONTROVERSIAL plans for a new wind farm in the heart of Suffolk have been refused to the delight of campaigners.

Elliot Furniss

CONTROVERSIAL plans for a new wind farm in the heart of Suffolk have been refused to the delight of campaigners.

A previous plan for the two-turbine site at Potash Farm in Wyverstone, near Bacton, was withdrawn after Mid Suffolk District Council planners recommended it for refusal.

Now the resubmitted scheme has also been turned down but last night Andy Hilton, managing director of applicants Wind Power Renewables, said he would be appealing the decision.

Officers, given delegated powers to decide the application, said there was a “realistic risk” that the noise and shadow flicker created by the turbines would have an adverse impact on nearby residents.

They added: “The development scheme fails to secure the appropriate provision of a decommissioning bond to ensure the removal of the turbines at the end of their life for energy generation purpose.”

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The turbines would have measured 130metres from the ground to the tip of the blade and generated enough electricity for 3,600 homes.

A campaign group called Stop Wyverstone Wind farm Action Group (SWWAG) had been set up to block the move and last night its chairman, Dr Neil Macey, said it would continue to fight any appeal.

He said: “We are delighted with the council's decision to refuse this application. We are pleased that the vast level of opposition from local people, 10 Parish Councils and a number of statutory consultees has been listened to.

“We provided credible evidence (using the developer's own data) that this proposal would have created a significant noise nuisance at a number of local homes.”

He said “inappropriately sited and inadequately assessed developments” like the Wyverstone site damaged the cause of renewable energy, ruined the harmony of small villages and left a bad taste in the mouth of all involved.

He added: “We hope that Mr Hilton will have the good sense not to appeal this decision. If he does, we will insist upon a public inquiry to ensure that all views are heard.

“This is the second time that this proposal has been refused by the MSDC Planning department and this has given SWWAG ample time to prepare information for any potential appeal.

“If necessary, we will continue to fight this inappropriate development all the way.”

Last night, Mr Hilton said he would be going “straight to appeal” and claimed the application had not been read properly.

He said: “We know that it already does comply with all of the regulations and it does comply with noise (levels) and we know there are some minor items that we need to address and we certainly will be going to appeal.

“We are very, very confident of being able to appeal this decision - it's terrific news.”

The refusal comes after councils were urged by former deputy prime minister John Prescott to allow more wind farms in the countryside “in the national interest”.

Mr Prescott told the annual conference of the British Wind Energy Association that councils were failing to meet their responsibilities to tackle climate change.