Council objects to offshore wind scheme
A council has become the only local authority in the country to make a stand against plans for one of the world’s biggest off-shore wind farms.
North Devon Council’s planning committee yesterday made a formal objection to the £3 billion Atlantic Array project – just a day after both Devon County Council and Torridge District Council raised no objections to the scheme – amid protests from members of the public.
The move will be welcome news to campaigners who were disappointed by Tuesday’s decision by councillors not to raise objections – with some at Torridge’s meeting shouting “shame on you” as the decision was announced.
The project off the North Devon coast would be among Britain’s biggest wind farms, with up to 240 turbines, if the plans are accepted by the government. It is estimated the turbines would generate enough electricity to power about 900,000 homes.
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Councillor Jasmine Chesters told yesterday’s meeting in Barnstaple that she did not see any economic benefits for the area and said the project was the wrong place for such a development. And Councillor Frank Biederman said he could not support the development while there were no guarantees it would bring economic benefits.
The plans will now be considered by the Planning Inspectorate, which is responsible for deciding large-scale infrastructure projects. The public consultation on the plans ends on September 16.
North Devon’s planning committee members voted ten to three in favour of raising a number of concerns to the Planning Inspectorate.
The council has objected over six separate issues. It believes drilling work carried out during the erection of the wind farm will be disruptive, that residents living near the B3232 will be affected by construction traffic, that the scheme will have a serious visual impact on the North Devon “Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty” and affect the area’s peace and tranquillity, with an impact on tourism.
The committee also voted to object because it said no clear commitment had been made by the applicant, RWE nPower Renewables, to invest in North Devon and because it believes the wind farm, at ten miles off-shore, is too close to the North Devon coast.
Peter Crone, an engineer and the designer of the Atlantic Array project, urged councillors to seize the economic opportunity of being a part of the scheme.
At the end of a two-and-a-half-hour-long meeting, and after heated debate with comments from other objectors, the committee voted by ten members to three to register an objection. The decision means North Devon is the only local authority in England to raise official objections to the plans.