Davidstow Wind Farm – A decision
Planning is never an easy task, especially Strategic Planning. Today, we had to make a decision on the planned wind farm at Davidstow Wood an old WW2 Airfield. This application was first visited just over 6 months ago where Approval was given, subject to two conditions being met.The Link to Full Agenda
These were 1- That the proposed plan met the approval of NATS (link to what they do Click Here) and 2 – English Nature objected to the proposed plan as it felt these turbines would have a detrimental effect on the bird population on that area.
So, six months on these two issues had not been resolved, and it seemed that it was unlikely the conditions would be met. So it was brought back to the committee for a decision. The reason why it was brought back was because at a previous committee meetings (in October 2009 and March 2010) it was resolved that if the outstanding matters had not been addressed by 01 July 2010 then this would be brought back for reconsideration.
I asked many questions about the level of information in the report. These were mostly on the bird issues. I asked for further information on how these figures to bird deaths were calculated. Both sides claimed different. I was informed that most of the figures were in fact guestimates. I mean, how can you make a decision when you feel that there is a lack of information, or if this information was indeed factual. I mean I could claim I am the King of Siam, but that does not mean I am!
In the end after much debate, a vote was taken. Bernie Ellis made the recommendation – as per Officers Recommendations – That this application was to be refused.
I felt I could support this for one simple fact. That was that under PPS22. It is the responsibility of developers to address any potential impacts, taking account of Civil Aviation Authority, Ministry of Defence and Department for Transport guidance in relation to radar and aviation, and the legislative requirements on separation distances, before planning applications are submitted. Local Planning Authorities should satisfy themselves that such issues have been addressed before considering planning applications. I felt this had not been addressed, nor the objections by English Nature had been mitigated enough to warrant approval. So refusal it was.
That does not solve the problem of do we need to take a more pragmatic view of Turbines and accept them, or keep resisting them because people do not like the look of them, or they like them as long it’s not in their own backyard.