Wind turbines at East and West Huntspill are rejected

Ecotricity Black Ditch artist's impression Ecotricity hoped to build five wind turbines at Black Ditch in West Huntspill

Plans to build nine wind turbines on the Somerset Levels have been rejected by councillors.

Two applications were considered by Sedgemoor District Council and both had been recommended for approval.

Ecotricity wanted to place four turbines at Black Ditch, which is land to the south of Poplar Farm in West Huntspill.

The second application from EDF Energy involved putting up five turbines at Withy Farm in East Huntspill.

'Strong case'

Hundreds of local residents had fought a campaign against both applications on the grounds the turbines would be too high and too close to homes.

Wind farm council meeting Around 140 local residents attended the council meeting in Burnham-on-Sea

Officers recommended both applications because they "would not significantly undermine the character or appearance of the local landscape".

From the meeting

Burnham-on-Sea's Princess Theatre was an apt location for such a dramatic meeting. It was nearly a full house with around 140 local people turning up.

Eighteen passionate speeches were made to the councillors - only two supporting the plans.

Cheers from the crowd for those opposing. You could almost hear the silent boos and hisses for those speaking for the turbines.

Despite debating noise, ecology, roads and shadows from the turbines, it was on the grounds of visual impact the councillors rejected the plans. Further cheers and applause echoed around the theatre.

They said measures had also been taken to mitigate noise levels and shadow flicker.

However, both applications were each refused by a vote of nine to four by councillors.

Chairman of the development control committee Bob Filmer said: "Our view is when you look across the Sedgemoor area, it is a very flat landscape with very few other features in it that would complement a wind farm.

"There are other areas in Sedgemoor that can deal with wind farms, and we've had solar parks here too, so we are looking at the appropriate forms of generation in the appropriate locations."

A spokesman for Ecotricity said the firm was "disappointed" with the decision.

"After carrying out extensive assessments, analysing potential impacts on the landscape, ecology and ornithology, we are still confident the site is a highly appropriate one to harness the power of the wind and help fight against climate change.

"We shall closely consider our options, but there is certainly a strong case to appeal against the committee's decision."

A spokesman for EDF Energy said: "Obviously we are very disappointed with the decision, we thought the site was well-suited to the proposal we had.

"You've got to look at everything, we really believe in the site and we have to review we are."

Around 140 local residents attended the meeting in Burnham-on-Sea.

Julie Trott, from Huntspill Windfarm Action Group, said: "I'm thrilled, I'm over the moon, it couldn't have gone better so I'm very emotional at the moment."

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