CPRE response to the dismissal of Ecotricity’s Berkeley Vale Wind Farm appeal
CPRE’s Gloucestershire branch has welcomed the Inspector’s decision to refuse permission to build four 120 metre wind turbines in the Berkeley Vale.
In his Appeal Decision, Richard Thomas, the inspector appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government said he agreed with the view of Stroud District Council and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) that the proposed development would impact much more on the surrounding area than Ecotricity had indicated.
Given the high landscape sensitivity of the area, which lies within the setting of the Cotswolds AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) and Stinchcombe Conservation Area and to other heritage assets, he said: “I consider that the cumulative harm is of such magnitude that it outweighs the benefits of the proposal.”
CPRE Gloucestershire Vice Chair, Richard Lloyd, who gave evidence at the Appeal Inquiry said: “In reaching a decision whether or not to build such a wind farm, a balance has to be struck between the value a wind farm brings to the community and the impact on that same community. The Berkeley Vale Wind Farm proposal was for four 120-metre wind turbines, only marginally lower than the towers of the first Severn Crossing. CPRE’s view, which the Inspector shares, is that this would have a huge and negative visual impact on the surrounding communities.
“The benefits of the proposal in terms of producing renewable energy also have to be weighed against the significant harm that the proposal would cause to the setting of and views from the Cotswold AONB and we are pleased that the Inspector acknowledged this in his ruling. The AONB is an important national asset, drawing tourism revenues into the area and its conservation is accorded great weight in planning policy.
Although we support renewable energy technologies, this is a very welcome decision which we hope will encourage a more sensitive approach to turbine location in Gloucestershire and elsewhere.”
CPRE Gloucestershire – notes for editors
CPRE, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, is a charity which promotes the beauty, tranquillity and diversity of rural England. It advocates positive solutions for the long-term future of the countryside. Founded in 1926, it has a branch in every county. www.cpre.org.uk www.cpreglos.org.uk
Why is CPRE Gloucestershire’s view relevant?
Over a third of Gloucestershire’s countryside remains unprotected. CPRE has been standing up for the countryside for over 80 years. Unlike many environmental charities, CPRE has no vested interests; the organisation owns no land and relies solely on donations and grants. It is politically independent. CPRE is concerned with land use across England, urban as well as rural. Its campaigning is evidence-based, reasoned and authoritative. Many CPRE members nationally and in Gloucestershire are experts in the planning system at all levels, local, regional and national.
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