Proposed new policy could give the green light to wind farm developers, says Landkey, Swimbridge and Taw member

A new policy on wind energy could ‘give the green light’ to flood the region with turbines.

Councillor David Luggar fears a proposed wind energy policy added as an extra consultation in the North Devon and Torridge Local Plan could see wind farms springing up everywhere.

The Landkey, Swimbridge and Taw district councillor says, to his knowledge, there are no other councils in the country that have made provision for wind in their plans.

Last June, Greg Clark, minister for communities and local government, gave guidance to councils.

He said turbine developments should only be given permission if the site is in an area identified as suitable by a local plan or neighbourhood plan at parish level, and has the backing of communities.

The proposal for the ND/T local plan goes to the TDC communities and resources committee on Monday and NDC executive on May 3.

It identifies both districts as suitable for turbines, although there are restrictions such as a height limit of 15 metres on the coast.

Developments can be permitted if they fall within this, but must satisfy a list of criteria, which include being in a neighbourhood plan.

Effects on landscape, people, heritage and tourism among others must be alleviated.

The policy has been put together by the Joint Local Plan Working Group and has been out to a second consultation, with 680 objections, including 56 parish councils.

Mr Luggar said: “If we adopt this, it gives the green light for developers as we will be the only councils open for wind business.

“We don’t need a policy like this and we should follow the example of other councils. I am not against turbines. There might be individual cases that need one, but I don’t want to see the districts littered with unwanted development and especially no more like Fullabrook.”

Cllr Jeremy Yabsley, chairman of the working group, said it had met on Monday, with a recommendation to go to NDC executive. He added: “Until the executive consider the recommendation, a decision on the policy to be contained in the plan has not been reached by council.”