Second challenge to Den Brook Valley plan

Tuesday 9th March 2010 12:00 am

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A LEADING member of the Den Brook Judicial Review Group (DBJRG), which has launched a second legal challenge to plans for a development of nine 125 metre high wind turbines in the Den Brook valley, has hit out at comments made by the project manager for the developers, as reported in a recent issue of the Courier.

Mike Hulme said about the comments made by the project manager from Renewable Energy Systems Ltd (RES): "Re: 'Mr Hulme wants to present all the same points over again in his legal challenge', Helen Hall (RES) obviously has either not read, or not understood, or is purposefully avoiding addressing the grounds on which I have lodged the appeal.

"This comes as little surprise when considering RES' continued refusal to acknowledge the high probability for potentially health damaging noise disturbance from the wind farm.

"During the Public Inquiry RES vehemently opposed the DBJRG's request and submissions for a noise condition aimed to protect neighbours in the event that excess aerodynamic noise impacts occur.

"Nevertheless, Inspector Pykett, in accepting the DBJRG's evidence and concerns, dismissed RES' protestations and imposed such a condition.

"Unfortunately, on close examination, the noise condition, as written, appears legally defective, thereby leaving neighbours to the wind farm vulnerable with little or no means of redress other than at the benevolence of RES Ltd.

"Sadly, experience of dealings with the company over past years has revealed an ability to turn a deaf ear when it comes to the crunch and leaves little room for confidence.

"It is often said that nothing is perfect, and yet RES seem only to highlight any potential benefits resulting from building nine huge 125 metres high wind turbines in the Den Brook Valley.

"Their attempted sidelining of very real problems associated with such an immense imposition on the surrounding communities is not welcome and will continue to be so until RES face up to the issues and move away from such an arrogant and patronising attitude."

Mr Hulme explained that he had attended one of the "series of positive meetings with local community representatives at which people (apparently) said they were keen to move on from the previous uncertainty over the scheme, acknowledging that the planning consent had been granted through a fair and thorough process."

He continued: "To my knowledge meetings were arranged by RES to meet individually and only with those chairing the surrounding parish councils and were specifically confined to identifying representatives from each to form a committee for managing the proposed community fund.

"Bill Porritt, the chairman of Spreyton Parish Council, unbeknown to RES, invited me to attend the meeting with him, knowing of my involvement over the years.

"I rather think the three reps from RES were a little surprised to find me at Bill's house for the meeting.

"The meeting was very matter of fact and amicable but I don't recall the keenness nor the acknowledgement that Helen Hall describes.

"Of course, Helen was not aware at that time that I intended to appeal the decision as my decision had not been finalised at that point.

"My understanding is that North Tawton and Bow were also approached and possibly Zeal Monachorum and South Tawton but I am not sure about the latter two."

A date for a High Court hearing has yet to be announced.

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