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1 February 1998
Visual impact continues to be the prime sticking point for many UK wind farm plans, with two more rejected on aesthetic grounds. Wind Prospect lost its battle to build five turbines at Drigg in Cumbria, and in the south west of England, the Wind Energy Group's planned extension to its Cold Northcott wind farm was turned down by North Cornwall District Council. Wind Prospect appealed an initial rejection of its proposal, but inquiry inspector David Metcalfe ruled that the adverse and substantial visual impacts -- particularly for part of the nearby National Park -- would outweigh the benefits of the wind farm. Euan Cameron from Wind Prospect calls the decision "odd" given the site's location immediately beside British Nuclear Fuels' low-level radioactive waste dump and some four kilometres from the huge Sellafield nuclear reprocessing complex. Cameron points out that Metcalfe was the same inspector who had earlier dealt with the nearby National Park plan. "I think it is fair to say he is not very sympathetic towards wind energy." Meantime, the Cold Northcott extension was turned down by 25 votes to nine. The council claimed it would lead to a concentration of turbines on a scale that would significantly change the character of the wider landscape. WEG had applied to build six of its new three blade MS4-600 turbines on the site next to its existing 23 two blade MS-3 machines. WEG's Patricia Gardiner claims the council had suggested strongly it use machines with three and not two blades.
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