Campaigners hail decisions but warn area is being ‘bombarded’ with applications.

FOUR separate appeals against council decisions to refuse proposed renewable energy projects have been dismissed by the Planning Inspectorate within the last week.

Single wind turbines in Ashwater, Bratton Fleming and Iddesleigh, and a solar farm at Buckland Filleigh, near Beaworthy, were all refused by North Devon, West Devon and Torridge district councils respectively.

In the latest decision notice issued today (Monday), planning inspector Janice Trask said Ecotricity’s plans for a 84-metre-high turbine at Witherdon Wood, near Ashwater, would have had a ‘detrimental effect on the rural and tranquil character and appearance of the area’.

On Thursday, inspector Wendy Burden dismissed ClearWinds’ plans for a 78-metre turbine at Knightacott, near Bratton Fleming, amid similar concerns it would cause ‘significant harm’ to the landscape.

On July 1, the same inspector scotched Lightsource Renewable Energy’s revised plans for a solar farm at Chalhanger Farm, near Buckland Filleigh due to visual impact.

She also said that while the scheme would have generated around 6MW of electricity, 25-30 years was ‘a significant length of time for a harmful development to be in place’.

On June 30, Colin Illman’s appeal for a wind turbine on a 30-metre mast at Coombe Farm, near Iddesleigh was also dismissed.

Inspector Janice Trask raised concerns about visual impact, as well as the effect on nearby residents and local heritage of the area, dubbed ‘War Horse Valley’.

Penny Mills, chairman of CPRE Devon (Campaign to Protect Rural England) said there were still a ‘huge number’ of applications pending decision or currently at appeal in North West Devon and more proposals were being submitted on a weekly basis.

“Currently, Torridge and North Devon alone have 25 wind turbine applications still in appeal and another 43 in planning. If all were approved, the impact on the landscape would be dramatic,” she said.

● Meanwhile this week, the same countryside campaigners were bemoaning Torridge District Council’s decision to approve three 77-metre-high wind turbines at Clawton, near Holsworthy.

Penny Mills said this was the fifth wind farm permitted in the district, with another three still pending.

“Torridge has more turbines than any other part of Devon,” she said.

“But unlike Dunsland Cross, (Brandis Corner); Forest Moor, (Bradworthy); and Higher Darracott, (Torrington), these three wind farms were refused by the council but unfortunately allowed at appeal,” she said.

“But at least the council refused them and in making these decisions was standing up for our countryside here.”