War Horse author in fight against Devon wind turbine
Celebrated author Michael Morpurgo has enlisted in the battle to halt the march of wind turbines by claiming a proposed new tower as high as a 15-storey building will "despoil" the idyllic backdrop to his First World War bestseller War Horse.
The writer – a freeman of West Devon – has objected to plans for a turbine measuring 145ft (44.5m) from base to blade tip at Iddesleigh, the village made famous by the novel, which spawned a hit stage play and a Hollywood blockbuster.
Under the plans lodged with West Devon Borough Council the turbine will tower over the famous Tarka Trail not far from the village hall which sets the scene for the story of a young farm boy and his horse, Joey.
Mr Morpurgo called the area in which he lives and set up his Farms for City Children charity an "oasis of peace and wonder, a paradise", which was "still far from the madding crowd".
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"As a result of the recent film and play based upon my book, War Horse, many more people are discovering the unique character of this corner of England, the farming country where Joey grew up before he was taken off as so many farm horses were to the First Word War," he wrote.
"However, the proposed wind turbine threatens to despoil the entire area – it will be intrusive to eye and ear, it will disturb the tranquillity and cast a shadow over all who come here, city child or visitor, and over those of us who live here and love this place."
Mr Morpurgo has added his voice to a growing local protest against the turbine, at Coombe Farm, which has so far seen dozens of objections.
The businessman behind the scheme, which is estimated to cost around £600,00 to install, is said to be in line for up to £100,000 a year from the lucrative feed-in-tariff if it is built at his home.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) claims Torridge now has more wind turbines than anywhere else in the county. Penny Mills, chairman of the CPRE in Torridge, said turbines were "a great investment but at a high cost to the countryside".
"A large, noisy industrial machine such as this is completely inappropriate, the impact would be enormous and it is so unnecessary," Ms Mills said. "Our wonderful countryside and landscape is very valuable and we need to protect it for future generations to enjoy."
English Heritage has also complained of a lack of suitable environmental consideration as part of a consultation over the plans, which ended last Friday.
A spokesman for the council said: "We are asking the applicant to provide an historic environmental impact assessment as English Heritage has told us that there is not enough information to make an informed assessment."