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Array issues need raising

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: August 29, 2013

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HUGH Bone is right to question the impact of the Atlantic Array on Bideford, as the rural communities of Abbotsham, Alwington. Littleham and Gammaton will be more affected by the current proposals ("Shocked by council talk", Journal, August 15).

However, Bideford Town Council has learnt that "who does not ask, does not get". Councillors can ask but I suspect they will not get as much as wished.

The longer term Community Fund for Devon and South Wales depends on electricity generated, and is quite separate to the disruption fund that has been offered to the "five parishes". That fund could be worth several millions a year if and when the Array is built and operational.

More serious though is that the community disruption implied by the cable route need not happen at all. Recent revelations indicate that there is a viable alternative – using a technology called HVDC – that could do the job of bringing power from the coast to Alverdiscott with a couple of cables that can fit under existing highways. This would cut out any need for the 54-metre swathe of disturbance across the countryside.

Of course it might cost a bit more, but why should local residents suffer just to make an easier life for developers RWE and associates? This issue (including costs) needs to be fully explored at the examination on the Array proposals due to start in November and to last through to Spring next year, but it will be considered only if brought to attention now, by those registering as below.

Residents have until Monday, September 16 to register as an interested party and participate in the examination. Details of how to register are at http://tinyurl.com/aa-register and details of the scheme are on the Planning Inspectorate site at http://tinyurl.com/aa-portal, with advice from the inspectorate on 0303-444-5000.

Torridge council has arranged a meeting of its plans committee in Bideford Town Hall on Tuesday, September 10 (9.30am). This meeting, open to the public, is an opportunity to hear more about the proposals. In this case, Torridge is not the decision maker and so our councillors can speak freely.

Hopefully we can get the "right" result on this, but to do so we need to ensure all issues are properly considered, and that means drawing official attention to them as soon as possible.



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