NINE wind turbines, three times the height of Exeter Cathedral, will be built near Bow, on the Mid Devon border with West Devon, after a government inspector decided that combating global warming was more important than local people's quality of life.

Inspector Andrew Pykett said that the wind farm at Den Brook "would be a cause of some harm in terms of its visual effect on the landscape", but said the decision was also bound by legal guidance to "thrust in favour of the adoption and growth of renewable energy".

There has been a five-year battle by Renewable Energy Systems Ltd (RES) to build the controversial 120 metre high turbines at the site in the Den Brook Valley, between Bow, Spreyton and North Tawton.

While the inspector acknowledges the site "will not be visible from North Tawton" and "minimally from Spreyton", he does admit that it will be clearly visible from many properties in Bow, especially from houses in Hobbs Way, Nymet Avenue, Collatons Walk, Gregory Close, the village hall and playing field and from properties in the Nichols Nymet area.

Other areas, he says, will be visible from Cosdon Hill on Dartmoor, the churchyard at Zeal Monachorum and other higher viewpoints.

Mr Pykett acknowledged that a Roman road crosses the site of the wind farm.

He said that development should begin within four years, that the lifespan of the turbines should be 25 years and they should be lit at night.

He imposed some noise conditions but also rejected a RES claim for costs resulting from the second public inquiry into the scheme, which was held earlier this year.

He also imposed "shadow flicker" conditions and raised no objection to a scheme to investigate and alleviate any electro-magnetic interference with radio or television reception.