A CHURCH plan to build wind turbines in north Devon faces opposition from residents, writes Madeleine Davies.
The diocese of Exeter proposes to establish two 25-metre turbines on three sites, owned by the Church, in East Anstey, Black Torrington, and Chittlehampton.
Penny Mills, of the Torridge branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), said that the Church should “not be involved” with the machines, which “divide communities”.
The turbines form part of the diocese’s ten-year strategy for meeting the Church of England’s “Shrinking the Footprint” target to reduce carbon emissions by 42 per cent by 2020, and by 80 per cent by 2050. The diocese is also considering the use of church-owned woodland for biomass production.
The Archdeacon of Barnstaple, the Ven. David Gunn-Johnson, said: “The production of more renewable energy in Devon will not only reduce our carbon emissions and protect our environment: it will also help safeguard our children’s future. By looking at wind energy, we are being responsible stewards of the land God has given us to look after.”
The diocese has sought to give reassurance by producing information about the turbines, which, it says, are “safe, reliable, and quiet”. The farming activities of the tenants of the three sites will be “undisturbed”, it says.
All the power produced by the turbines will be exported to the National Grid, generating revenue for the diocese over the 20-year life of the project. Applications for planning permission have been submitted to Torridge Council and North Devon Council.
This month, the CPRE produced a new report on onshore wind turbines, and warned that “the speed and scale of the change we are now seeing as a result of the proliferation of wind turbines is immense, and threatens to damage the character of many landscapes for at least a generation.”
It is calling on the Government to be clear about the national contribution that it wants onshore wind to make, and to ensure that local planning authorities seek to protect “landscape character”.