Victory in fight over turbine

Left to right, Durham County Councillor Dr David Boyes, with Gaynor Crute Parish, Easington Village Parish Council clerk and  and Len Murton, Easington Village Parish Council chairman
Left to right, Durham County Councillor Dr David Boyes, with Gaynor Crute Parish, Easington Village Parish Council clerk and and Len Murton, Easington Village Parish Council chairman

PEOPLE power won the day when a communications giant lost an appeal for a wind turbine to be built.

Members of Easington Village Parish Council and the village’s representative on Durham County Council, Councillor Dr David Boyes, are celebrating after BT Renewables’ plans to build the structure at Junction House Farm were thrown out at appeal stage.

Durham County Council’s planning committee had refused planning permission for the development, which included an “imposing” turbine with a 300ft-high blade, in October last year.

This was on the grounds that due to its location and scale, the project would have a significant visual impact on nearby residential properties.

The cumulative impact of the wind turbine when viewed alongside similar structures in the surrounding area was also taken into account.

BT appealed to the Planning Inspectorate, but the appeal was thrown out.

Andrew Pykett, of the Planning Inspectorate, said in his conclusion, referring to existing turbine clusters in east Durham: “I believe the deployment of turbines would become excessive, with little respite for residents and others living in or moving through the area.”

He added: “I therefore conclude that, taking account of existing and permitted wind energy projects in the area, the benefits of the scheme are insufficient to outweigh the harm derived through their cumulative effect.”

Today, Coun Dr Boyes, who attended the two-day appeal hearing in Bristol with Eileen Hopper and Gaynor Crute from the parish council, said: “Easington Village is a conservation area and we felt this was going to be too imposing on views.

“We feel very happy at the decision.

“One of the arguments I put forward was that the regional spacial strategy recommended and suggested County Durham should have 85 megawatts of renewable energy.

“But we now have 135 megawatts, with another 15 megawatts already past the planning stage.

“My argument was that County Durham had just become a dumping ground for these big wind turbines.

“We felt as though enough was enough.”

Coun Dr Boyes, a Labour councillor who sits on the county council’s area and county planning committee, added: “We feel really pleased that the local community’s voice has been heard.

“We have taken on a big corporation and actually won, so the little guys got a result.”

Rob Williams, head of renewables at BT, said: “We are naturally disappointed with the outcome of the appeal.”