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Action group steps up fight against West Huntspill wind farm
AN ACTION group has taken a direct approach to fighting proposals for a wind farm in West Huntspill.
An application by Ecotricity for four turbines on land south of Poplar Farm, known as Black Ditch, was rejected by Sedgemoor District Council’s planning committee in April.
But Ecotricity, also known as Next Generation, appealed against the decision in October and a public inquiry will be held on February 19 in the Princess Theatre in Burnham.
The Huntspill Wind Farm Action Group has applied to the Planning Inspectorate to take a full part in the inquiry by becoming what is classed as a ‘Rule 6 Party’, meaning it will be entitled to appear at the inquiry and cross-examine other parties.
John Wakefield, chairman of the action group said: “This is the final chapter in the two-and-a-half year fight to stop these monstrosities despoiling our countryside and killing numerous birds that overfly the site from the inland levels to the feeding grounds in the Bridgwater Bay.
“People power managed to fend off the EDF wind farm near East Huntspill, which was rejected alongside the Ecotricity application, and we are confident of the same conclusion to this application.”
The group said fighting the appeal would could cost as much as £12,000 - £15,000 and asked people to donate to its cause.
Julie Trott, communications officer for the action group, said: “What is certain is that we will need to raise funds to continue the fight and would be pleased to accept any pledges or donations.
“All six of the parish councils objected and the district council objected to this application. It would be a travesty of democracy if the Inspectorate ignored this.”
Ecotricity said there was a strong case to appeal the committee's decision.
A spokesman told the Weekly News: “There were three main issues for the application being refused.
“One was the potential ecological impact on wildlife in the area. At the time we were close to agreeing mitigation measures with the RSPB and Natural England, but the council didn’t take this into account. We have now agreed those measures.
“The other was the possible cumulative impact of having this development not far from another proposed wind farm by EDF. EDF has not appealed against refusal for their application, so this is no longer an issue.
“The key issue which will be discussed at the inquiry will be landscape, where some people felt the look of the turbines would not be in keeping with the surroundings.”