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Councillors back plan for 148ft wind turbine

Farmer Keith Wotton believes he has ‘good support from local people’ for his proposal to put up a giant wind turbine in the middle of a field on his land.
But one Dartmouth man has warned that if it goes ahead the countryside could end up becoming ‘dotted with propellers’.
Dartmouth Town Council’s planning committee on Wednesday recommended approval of the application for a 148ft high turbine at Downton Park Farm, Dittisham.
Vice chairman Cllr Tony Fyson said: ‘We have a responsibility in terms of climate change and have to find ways of generating power that don’t pollute the atmosphere.
‘We all agree a certain density of these things would be unacceptable but at the moment that is not a factor.’
Mr Wotton, a supporter of renewable energy, told the meeting he had submitted the application because he believed it was ‘essential for the next generation’.
‘I would like to reassure everybody that I am not doing this light-heartedly,‘ he said.
He said he had lived in Dittisham all his life and that we needed to ‘look the future more to promote the long-term prosperity of all around’.
‘This has been carefully thought about,’ he said. ‘It’s over a mile from Dartmouth, from the top of town, and generally I have good support from the local people.
‘As far as the noise and the bats and the wildlife, we have been going through the planning application for over two years to reassure everything and anything that is in the way, that it’s all good.’
But Dartmouth resident Paul Arnison-Newgass said a wind turbine of such size could set a precedent that would see the countryside ‘dotted with propellers’.
‘How can this mega wind turbine be sympathetic to the environment and countryside,’ he asked?
‘You will see it from the river and from the top of Kingswear.
‘We run the risk of these being plonked on every hill and ridge surrounding Dart­mouth. Just imagine.
‘And there is no reason they shouldn’t be if you believe in their efficiency. They will contaminate the landscape.’
Cllr Dave Cawley express­ed concerns over noise and whether the ecological impact the turbine might have on bats had been fully assessed.
And Cllr Paul Allen said he was disappointed there was no policy framework within South Hams Council for guidance.
The applicant, Fine Energy of Birmingham, is seeking permission to site the turbine for 20 years.
Cllr Roger Chilcott said that at least it could be taken down quite easily, as oppos­ed to a nuclear power station.
The council’s planning committee supported the proposal by four votes to three.
The decision flies in the face of last week’s rejection of the plan by Dittisham Parish Council after around 40 people turned up to the monthly meeting in the village hall.
Stoke Gabriel Parish Council has recommended refusal on grounds of visual impact and noise in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
But Cornworthy does not object to the proposal and Blackawton Parish Council also supports the application.
A supporting planning document submitted to South Hams Council by Fine Energy said the field did not fall within any designated sites of ecological, scientific, historic or archaeological interest. The nearest site of special scientific interest is Lord’s Wood, 1.7m to the north-east, and the nearest scheduled monument is the Beacon Mound at Fire Beacon Hill, 1.3km to the north-east.
It is estimated that the turbine will generate over 618,000 kwh/per year – the equivalent of powering 146 homes per year – and a noise impact assessment has been carried out for neighbouring properties, the report said.
It maintains that neither the South Devon AONB or Heritage Coast will be adversely affected by the turbine and that ecological evidence confirms that there will be no harm to local bat populations.
It adds ‘the limited visual impact within the immediate vicinity of the turbine must be properly weighed against the significant benefits as far as climate change, renewable energy generation, energy security and rural diversification are concerned’.
The final decision rests with South Hams Council’s development management committee.

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