South Norfolk's 'anti-green' claim at inquiry

SOUTH Norfolk was accused of being closed to green business on the final day of an inquiry to decide the fate of a windfarm near Hempnall.

SOUTH Norfolk was accused of being closed to green business on the final day of an inquiry to decide the fate of a windfarm near Hempnall.

Diss-based firm Enertrag was denied permission for a seven-turbine development last August by South Norfolk Council's south west area planning committee, but later appealed the decision.

A lengthy planning inquiry opened last month to decide the outcome of the appeal, which came to a close yesterday with final arguments given by representatives from the renewable energy company and local objectors.

David Hardy, speaking on behalf of Enertrag, said that the council's record on wind farm applications is 'fundamentally at odds with national policy'.


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He claimed that the region's poor record of approving windfarms would inevitably lead to missed targets on green energy.

'In this day and age, with delivery at woeful levels, that is simply not acceptable,' he said.

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'The council has wedded itself to a future of failing to deliver.'

The controversial project has attracted huge criticism from residents and anti-wind turbine groups such as SHOWT due to fears over noise pollution, visual impact and possible harm to bat populations.

It is claimed by the group that 83pc of the village are opposed to the scheme, although this is at odds with figures from Enertrag which suggest that just 21pc objected.

Speaking on behalf of SHOWT, Tina Douglass said that the 125m tall turbines would conflict with historical buildings in the area, and have an impact on views of the landscape due to the 'gently sloping and open topography'.

She claimed that these problems would 'outweigh the benefit of renewable energy provided' by the turbines.

South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon has also spoken out against the project, calling the masts 'industrial and alien'.

Several conditions were discussed by all parties during the inquiry which could be placed on the site if it were approved, including a lifespan limit of 25, restrictions on operating turbines at night to protect nocturnal bats and procedures for complaints over noise pollution.

Planning Inspector David Lavender closed the inquiry and announced that due to the length and complexity of evidence given a decision should not be expected before the end of January.

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