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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 11 March, 2003, 17:49 GMT
Wind farm opponents under fire
wind turbine
Cornwall has seven wind farms, Devon none
The government has warned that wind farms will almost certainly become a feature of the Devon landscape.

Energy minister Brian Wilson was speaking after a series of proposals were turned down by planners.

Objections, mainly on the grounds that the wind farms would be a blot on the landscape, have left Devon without a single wind farm, while neighbouring Cornwall has seven.

Supporters of wind power say in order to meet government green energy targets, 100 turbines will have to be built in Devon by the end of the decade.

Click below for a map of Cornwall's wind farms

Mr Wilson said that target was "certainly achievable", and he warned that planning rules currently under review would make wind farms easier to push through.

He said: "We do not want to trample on local democracy and therefore surely it is in everyone's interest to be reasonable and start putting some of these applications through.

"There's plenty of enthusiasm for wind farms in Cornwall and elsewhere.

"Wind farms are always opposed by a vociferous minority to start with, but once they are there, they are regarded as a good, neighbourly development which bring economic benefits to the area as well.

"I would have thought it very odd if Devon becomes some sort of oasis where wind power was banned."

The new energy white paper aims for 15% of electricity in the South West to have come from renewable sources by 2010.

And Mr Wilson said there was no place for a blanket ban on wind farms, in Devon or elsewhere.

He said: "There is cross-party support for renewable energy targets, so surely councils cannot be supporting something at national level, and opposing it at local level.

"There is also a programme of off-shore wind, biomass, solar, and wave which are coming through to commercialisation.

"But the bird in the hand is onshore windpower.

"And it is irresponsible of any planning authority to say 'We are not going to have them here'."

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