Warwickshire wind farm test mast approved on appeal

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An energy firm has won an appeal to build a test mast for a proposed wind farm in south Warwickshire.

Broadview Energy applied in 2009 to build a 60m (196ft) mast to gauge wind conditions on land between Knightcote and Bishop's Itchington.

Stratford-on-Avon District Council twice turned it down over fears it might harm hedgerow wildlife and birds.

The firm modified its plans to include bird diverters and a planning inspector approved the plans on 16 March.

A spokesman for Broadview Energy said work on the test mast was due to start in the next few weeks on land leased from local farmers near junction 12 of the M40.

'Trampled over democracy'

Graham Margetson, from Feldon Residents Against Wind Turbines, said: "Five parish councils were against it, Stratford District Council rejected it twice.

"Two hundred letters were written against, this. Everybody said no.

"In terms of democracy, it's hugely disappointing. We feel the inspector has trampled over local democracy."

In his appeal report the planning inspector said the original objections had been met with the addition of 280 bird deflectors and the relocation of the the mast 50m (164ft) further away from the hedgerows.

As a result of the modifications, he said Natural England had no further objections and there were no subsequent objections from Warwickshire County Council's ecology unit or Warwickshire Wildlife Trust (WWT).

He said: "There is no basis in the evidence that is before me on which it could reasonably be concluded that material harm would be caused to wildlife or nature conservation interests, including with regard to birds, bats and any species using the pond/wetland habitat."

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