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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 September, 2004, 06:48 GMT 07:48 UK
Windfarms gathering pace in Devon
by Jonathan Morris
BBC News Online South West

Marie Hutchings: Bought house for its 'marvellous' views of the moors
Marie Hutchings has been dreading this moment for the past two years.

Surveyors have been pegging out land in the first stage of building three wind turbines at Forest Moor near Bradworthy in north Devon.

The nearest turbine, 75m (246ft) tall to the tip of its blades, will be 530m from Mrs Hutchings' front door.

Former cattle and sheep breeder Mrs Hutchings, 75, is now considering quitting the home she bought 18 years ago for its "marvellous" views.

Mrs Hutchings points to the view from her front door - a typical Devon landscape of rolling hills, hedges, and cows grazing in the fields.

Photomontage of the three Bradworthy turbines

She said: "There is no way I am going to be able to miss the turbines, apart from growing a 20ft high hedge.

"I have been hoping against hope that it will not happen.

"It was probably a silly thought, but I thought something might happen to stop them."

Mrs Hutchings moved with her husband Joe to the 20-acre smallholding 18 years ago.

She has bred pedigree sheep and cattle, and since Joe died five years ago she has moved into Spaniel breeding.

"This place was a wreck when we bought it," she said.

"But when I saw the view over Bodmin and Dartmoor I thought it was marvellous.

"We bought this place because of its peace and quiet, but I may be forced to move because of the noise."

Appeal won

She added: "The only consolation is that everyone in Devon will see them and there will be even more pressure against them."

It is better than having nuclear power stations
Brian Mayhead

Some locals are more conciliatory towards the windfarm.

Nearby Farmer Brain Mayhead, said: "It is better than having nuclear power stations although I think that turbines would be better out at sea."

Pressure against wind turbines in Devon has been considerable and has prevented any until now.

While neighbouring Cornwall has seven windfarms, Bradworthy will be the first in Devon.

Both Bradworthy and the only other turbines with planning permission - at Higher Darracott near Torrington - went through on appeal after being rejected by Torridge District Council.

Twenty-two turbines are also being proposed at Fullabrook Down, south east of Ilfracombe.

However, that application has gone directly to the Department for Trade and Industry, which will consult North Devon District Council, because its output exceeds 50 megawatts.

The move towards windfarms has been fuelled by the government's target of providing 10% of energy from renewable sources by 2010.

If the Fullabrook Down scheme goes ahead, the 22 turbines, each of 3MW capacity, would produce almost 60% of Devon's recommended onshore wind energy capacity target of 103MW by 2010.

Guy Wilson, director of Energie Kontor UK, the firm behind the Bradworthy scheme, predicted more turbines in Devon amid government enthusiasm and targets for renewable energy.

Local authority planners were told by the government in October last year to include the environmental benefits of windfarms in assessing applications.

Mr Wilson said: "The government is keen and all the incentives for windfarm developers are there, including easing planning permissions.

"There are a lot of good sites in Devon which has been regarded as a difficult area in the past.

"A number of projects failed because planning policies did not support wind energy so it was always easy to reject projects."

Britons 'in favour of wind farms'
20 Sep 04  |  Science/Nature
Turbulence over turbines in Cumbria
20 Sep 04  |  Business
Windfarm turbines are approved
06 Aug 03  |  Devon


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