Published: January 16, 2014
Burnham Conservative says Pilrow wind farm would 'scar countryside'

Burnham-On-Sea's Tory parliamentary candidate has this week attacked plans for a proposed new wind farm.

James Heappey, pictured, told this week's continuing appeal hearing into the Pilrow wind farm that the planned 130 metre-tall wind turbines would "scar the countryside" around Brent Knoll.

"To my mind, it has always been deeply unfortunate that Broadview have considered trying to site these enormous turbines on a landscape that offers absolutely nothing to hide them," he said.

"Our local economy depends to a large degree on tourism and yet from the moment one crosses into Somerset on the M5 southbound these turbines would be in view. They would scar our countryside, ruin views to and from Brent Knoll and all for an amount of energy that is dwarfed by that to be produced at Hinkley Point C."

"They are also far less reliable than what could be generated if we turned away from wind and towards the untapped tidal resources that are just three miles further to the west."

He continued: "In East Brent, Brent Knoll, Rooksbridge, Biddisham, Tarnock, Edingworth, Badgworth and the Allertons, I have found hardly anyone who supports this proposal. Indeed, I'm not sure I've seen a campaign group that is more fully supported within its community than No Pilrow."

"When the planning application was rejected by Sedgemoor District Council, the councillors - our locally elected representatives - were not exercising their own private agendas nor were they being partisan."

"They stood unanimous, across party lines and whether they represented an 'affected' ward or not, in their rejection of the proposal because they knew what was best for this area and they knew that they had the overwhelming support of local people."

"Eric Pickles has recently tweaked the direction to planning authorities so that local views must be valued. As a local resident and as a conduit for wider public opinion, I cannot imagine a circumstance where a community and their elected representatives could possibly put forward a more united and compelling opposition to this proposal. They have spoken with one voice at every stage in this planning application and they have said, resoundingly, 'No'."

Mr Heappey urged Planning Inspector Paul Jackson "to heed Mr Pickles's advice and recommend back to him that their decision stand."

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