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Torridge MP Geoffrey Cox angry over wind turbine appeal cost

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: April 25, 2013

By Philippa Jenkins

WindTurbine
Comments (7)

TORRIDGE MP Geoffrey Cox says it is "absurd and dangerous" that a council has had to spend £35,000 of public money on appeals against wind turbine applications.

The Journal can reveal the East Youlstone turbine appeal alone incurred Torridge District Council professional costs of £35,332 after a planning inquiry was held.

The inquiry overturned the council's refusal of planning permission for two 100-metre turbines at East Youlstone, near Bradworthy.

Costs will also be incurred by TDC for another unsuccessful appeal against the Vaglefield Farm turbine application. These costs are yet to be confirmed. As a result permission was given to erect a 79-metre turbine at the farm near Holsworthy last year.

Out of ten appeals TDC has fought over turbine applications, it has lost nine. The one it won was for a ten-metre turbine at a farm near Holsworthy.

Geoffrey Cox, the Conservative MP for Torridge and West Devon said he is surprised more applicants have not applied for costs.

He said £35,000 is still a huge cost for a small local authority like TDC to bear.

He said: "I deeply sympathise with Torridge. It is absolutely absurd and outrageous the council should have to incur these costs. They shouldn't have to go filling the pockets of developers to contest these planning applications.

"But if we don't fight these people we will have a proliferation of turbines, which on this scale is quite wrong.

"Developers pick on small, isolated communities and small isolated local authorities. That kind of figure could start affecting council tax rates."

Mr Cox said that through his discussions with senior MPs about wind turbines he is hoping a fundamental change in policy will be announced next month.

He said: "I can't say too much about the change in policy until it is announced but it will bring relief to communities and it is safe to say I believe our argument has been won in government. We can expect to see real changes."

Councillor Barry Parsons, the leader of Torridge District Council, said: "The number of appeals being upheld is an indication of what the Government wants, not an indication of what the community wants.

"We are trying to take the issue very seriously where it will affect people's lives. I don't know any other local authority which has done more. We have written to David Cameron. I have been to see him. Our officers do a fantastic job and we will continue to do so."

The council has been spared further expense, largely because applicants did not make an application for costs.

Only one successful applicant applied for costs. This was for an application for a 79-metre turbine at Gearns Farm, near Holsworthy. However, the Planning Inspectorate deemed it not appropriate for costs to be awarded to the applicant.

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7 comments

  • peatbogs  |  April 29 2013, 11:17PM

    What small minded petty remarks Rockall2011- so typical of your would be superior, sniping and carping criticisms of others so often in this place.

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  • Brizz_Tony  |  April 26 2013, 9:48AM

    Johdavies, I couldn't agree more! Even when DECC (Department for Economically Crippling Country) is finally taken over by people who realise that we have spent a lot of money generating subsidies rather than usable power, the power companies will still be able to milk the cow dry for another 20 years. I cannot see that there will be more than two generations of wind turbines, providing we can divert some of the nation's spare cash into researching real solutions that don't need back-up

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  • johndavies  |  April 25 2013, 9:12PM

    tony You talk of Conflicts of interest, Government policy needs changing to save the country from this mass destruction, but have you ever tried to drag a pig away from a trough that still has some food in it? A lot of the political class have strong financial interests in 'Renewables' to name just a few - David Camerons father in law, Sir Reginald Sheffield, Lord Deben, John Selwyn Gummer, Nick Cleggs wife Miriam, Ed Davey, Chris Huhne, Tim Yeo & a large number of DECC officials are "all in it together" & are making a packet!!! According to the National Planning Policy Framework, all plans must be viewed with a presumption in favour of "sustainable development". The problem is not usually the planning committee. It's the appeal process. The developer will appeal the refusal. The Inspector will visit and despite huge local objections they will probably pass the application. Approx 85 per cent of applications are eventualy granted planning permission. The 'windturbine/solar cash generators' are no more than a brazen 'perpetual subsidies' swindle, costing us £billions for little advantage. It's the wrong technology for the problem …because it was chosen by un-informed politicians, many of whom are involved in the scam. The politicians who support this scam are either technically naive, or corrupt. For either reason they shouldn't be there. To see how much the SwindLE scam is costing us – Look here at the OFGEM figs of CASH generated by windfarms per mth, (More than 50% is subsidy's.) see- http://tinyurl.com/cgmq86d - (Have smelling salts handy.) Worth looking thru the rest of that site at the obscene amounts of subsidies they get, paid by ….me & you. see map - http://tinyurl.com/ajcmpde

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  • Brizz_Tony  |  April 25 2013, 10:43AM

    Rockall2011, You miss the point that although independent of government, planning inspectors have to decide applications based on law and policy formulated by ... yes, the government. In formulating policy and law, the government "consults", which means it asks the experts, in this case the greedy foreign power companies and their apologists in the environmental movements, who see a chance at grabbing publicity and influence, as well as cash. The potential profits are enormous, meaning that huge amounts of cash can be invested by the companies in lobbying. The end result is that the planning inspector has to decide planning applications using law and policy guidelines that have been largely drafted by the very power companies that are applying to wreck rural Devon by covering it in concrete and wind turbines. It is the very antithesis of localism, costs councils scarce money, and reeks of corruption. Good luck, Mr Cox, we need all the help we can get.

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  • Brizz_Tony  |  April 25 2013, 10:42AM

    Rockall2011, You miss the point that although independent of government, planning inspectors have to decide applications based on law and policy formulated by ... yes, the government. In formulating policy and law, the government "consults", which means it asks the experts, in this case the greedy foreign power companies and their apologists in the environmental movements, who see a chance at grabbing publicity and influence, as well as cash. The potential profits are enormous, meaning that huge amounts of cash can be invested by the companies in lobbying. The end result is that the planning inspector has to decide planning applications using law and policy guidelines that have been largely drafted by the very power companies that are applying to wreck rural Devon by covering it in concrete and wind turbines. It is the very antithesis of localism, costs councils scarce money, and reeks of corruption. Good luck, Mr Cox, we need all the help we can get.

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  • Rockall2011  |  April 25 2013, 9:58AM

    I think this is what they call democracy, which I appreciate may be a touch inconvenient for Cox, who of course knows a thing or two about costs. Also a touch of hypocrisy given the professional costs doubtless include legal opinion/representation, something dear to Cox's heart; well his wallet anyway. As for the comments of Barry Parsons, he clearly doesn't understand the planning process as planning inspectors are independent of government (which in case he hadn't noticed is the same party he represents) and have to follow legislation and case law.

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  • sandman18  |  April 25 2013, 9:35AM

    "Mr Cox said that through his discussions with senior MPs about wind turbines he is hoping a fundamental change in policy will be announced next month" Lets hope something comes of Mr Cox's comment as we are now upto 102 Turbines in the planning system within 15km radius of Bradworthy !! and this is increasing every week.

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