PLANNERS have today thrown out a massively controversial wind farm project near Rooksbridge.

Sedgemoor District Council planning officer Rebecca Miller said Broadview Energy’s scheme, for four 130-metre turbines on land at Pilrow Farm, would “represent an unacceptable visual intrusion into the flat landscape of the Somerset Levels, particularly in respect of the harm to the views to and from Brent Knoll.”

Her report added: “A defining characteristic of this part of the Somerset Levels is their flat and level nature; the verticality of the proposed turbines will be at odds with this character and will significantly undermine it.

“The character of the landscape will be significantly undermined and harmed in a location which constitutes a key gateway to Somerset.

“This adverse landscape impact cannot be mitigated against with additional landscaping or other measures.

“The local planning authority is of the opinion that the visual harm that would occur to the landscape would not be outweighed by the benefits that the development would bring in terms of tackling climate change and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.”

The scheme has attracted huge interest, with nearly 800 people writing to the district council to register their opinions.

Tom Cosgrove, Broadview project manager, said: “If approved, the Pilrow wind farm would have made a valuable contribution to increasing our energy security and reducing carbon emissions.

“It is our view that Sedgemoor failed to properly take account of this in making its decision on the application, and we continue to believe this to be an excellent location for a wind farm.

“Visual change is an inevitable consequence of building tall structures such as wind turbines, however, the expansion of wind energy remains central to UK energy policy.

“Therefore, decision makers must carefully consider in each instance whether the country’s ambition to increase its green energy supply and keep the lights on outweighs that visual change.

“We are currently considering our options for the site."