Torridge votes to make no objections to Atlantic Array

Protesters outside the plans committee meeting today (Tues).

Protesters outside the plans committee meeting today (Tues). - Credit: Archant

Five councilors vote in favour of making no objections with four voting against.

Around 50 people attended the meeting today (Tuesday).

Around 50 people attended the meeting today (Tuesday). - Credit: Archant

COUNCILLORS were booed and heckled this afternoon (Tues) after a majority of five councillors to four voted to raise no objections to the proposed Atlantic Array.

Around 50 members of the public attended Torridge District Council’s special plans committee meeting today to discuss the application.

The plans will be determined by the Secretary of State for energy and climate change, but Torridge made is a statutory authority and can make a recommendation due to the onshore development works that would take place in the district.

At the meeting, 13 members of the public spoke against the plans for up 240 turbines off the North Devon coast.

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Objections were raised over the detrimental effect on the area of outstanding natural beauty, the disruption caused by laying the cable routes, noise levels, the effect on Lundy Island and the impact on tourism in the area.

One member of the public referred to the array as ‘an outbreak of boils on a beautiful woman you’ve known and love for years’.

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However, three members of the public spoke in favour of the application, saying it would bring jobs and help reach the Government target of 15 per cent renewable energy by 2020.

The first councillor to speak, Councillor Chris Leather, instantly put forward his motion to recommend refusal of the application.

He said: “Are we just going to rubberstamp that with an approval? I don’t think so – or certainly I am not going to.”

Councillor Kathy Murdoch also voted to refuse the application, saying she had come to the meeting with an open mind.

“I am a working mum who cares greatly about my children’s future, be that jobs, the quality of the environment or whether they will have power,” she said.

“But this will be life-wrecking for some people. It will be irrevocable, life changing and life wrecking.”

Councillor Phillip Collins, leader of the council, said he felt Torridge should focus on the mitigation should the scheme go ahead.

“Due consideration should be given to set up a hardship fund for those that suffer exceptional hardship because of this application,” he said.

“Any residents in Torridge deemed to be in fuel poverty should get a fuel subsidy to alleviate the situation.

“And the concerns of Bideford Town Council need to be given consideration.”

Plans chairman, Councillor Rosemary Lock, voted to move the original motion of making no objections to the proposals, subject to Cllr Collins’ amendments.

The recommendation also included a number of other concerns, such as the need for locally sourced jobs and noise levels.

Five councillors voted to raise no objections to the proposals, and four voted against.

As the results were received, the members of the public booed and shouted ‘shame’ until councillors left the building.

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