Energy firm confident of appeal success

They may have won the first round in their battle to prevent a wind farm being built in their rural community. But villagers opposing controversial plans to build seven 125m high turbines on land at Bussey's Loke, Hempnall, are now gearing up for a new fight.

They may have won the first round in their battle to prevent a wind farm being built in their rural community.

But villagers opposing controversial plans to build seven 125m high turbines on land at Bussey's Loke, Hempnall, are now gearing up for a new fight.

For developer Enertrag UK has confirmed its intent to appeal to the secretary of state in a bid to overturn South Norfolk Council's decision to reject the scheme. And the company believes it may well succeed.

The council's south-west area planning committee voted unanimously against the wind farm on the grounds it would be detrimental to the character and visual amenity of the area, and because it is contrary to policy. Councillors were also concerned about the impact on listed buildings and Norwich International Airport, and potential traffic dangers at the junction of the B1332/B1527 roads.


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Enertrag spokesman David Linley said it had anticipated refusal of the application as recommended by planning officers.

“We believed it would be turned down so it wasn't too big a surprise. It is our intent to go to appeal,” he said.

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Mr Linley also called into question the county's record on renewable energy targets.

“I said at the meeting that Norfolk's record on the supply of onshore energy is lamentable, with only one fifth of the targets for 2010 achieved to date,” he said.

Beverley Spratt, the planning committee chairman, said there could be a financial impact on the authority in fighting the appeal, but he thought it unlikely they would need to draft in barristers or other external help.

“The officers came up with very strong reasons for refusal and the members agreed, and this has put us in a very good position if it comes to an appeal - unless the government decides to completely ignore all the planning policies and then of course they will be built,” he said.

Hilary Battye, spokesman for local protest group Showt, was optimistic the appeal would be dismissed and said the group has set up a fighting fund.

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