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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 July 2007, 13:09 GMT 14:09 UK
Opera house wind turbine approved
How the wind turbine would look above Glyndebourne
Glyndebourne said the turbine would cut emissions by 71%
A proposed 70m-tall (230ft) wind turbine to power an opera house on the Sussex Downs has been approved despite planners recommending it be refused.

The plan put forward by the Glyndebourne company was given the green light by Lewes District Council.

Ringmer Parish Council, the South Downs Society and Natural England had all objected due to the turbine's impact on an area of outstanding natural beauty.

Lewes council argued it had to do its bit towards combating climate change.

'Positive message'

Peter Gardiner, the council's lead member for planning, said: "We've taken into account a huge number of opinions and made what we think is the best decision.

"If we want the South Downs to look anything like they do now, we have to halt global warming in any way we can."

Glyndebourne said in its planning application that the 850kw turbine would generate the equivalent of the opera house's annual electricity consumption.

Executive chairman Gus Christie said: "For the sake of future generations and for the sake of the beautiful Downs, we have to do something, we can do something, and I think this will send a very positive message to people who visit and people who live around the area."

But Tom Oliver, from the Campaign to Protect Rural England, argued: "This is far from an efficient turbine and we would again want to weigh up carefully the relative benefits of where you place renewable energy with the other benefits of that place, which in this case is great beauty."

'Serious harm'

The proposed site is at Mill Plain in Ringmer, about 400m north-west of the opera house but still within Glyndebourne's estate.

Lewes planning officers had recommended the application be turned down, believing it would "cause serious harm to the natural beauty, character and tranquillity of the Sussex Downs and the proposed South Downs National Park".

The majority of Ringmer residents were against the plans, but pupils at Ringmer Community College gathered a petition supporting the turbine while Friends of the Earth also backed it.

The council's planning applications committee voted six to four in favour of the application on Wednesday night.

But the turbine plans still have to go to the secretary of state for consideration.


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Glyndebourne Opera House is allowed to build a wind turbine



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