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National Trust backs down
1 December 1996
An eleventh hour bid by the National Trust (NT) to thwart a wind turbine being built in Gloucestershire has been abandoned. The conservation charity had called for a judicial review of a planning inspector's decision to grant consent for a single 500 kW Enercon E40 wind turbine at Nympsfield by Western Windpower. However, after seemingly getting cold feet, the National Trust withdrew its formal objection. "We are not going forward with a full legal objection," confirms Warren Davies of the NT. "The problem with going to court is that it would cost the National Trust a lot of money." But he points out that it is still opposed to the turbine. "We are having consultations with the Council for the Protection of Rural England and the Countryside Commission, and we are planning a joint approach to the Minister for the Environment." Davies says the Trust is not against wind turbines in principle, recognising they have an essential part to play in saving the environment. "However in this particular case it is concerned that planning permission was granted to a turbine that will overlook our park at Woodchester -- an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty," he says. "It is an unspoilt valley, unique in that part of the world, where people go to enjoy the tranquillity and peace. He says the NT is concerned by the precedent set by Environment Secretary John Gummer in agreeing to a turbine being built in that area. "We are against the principle of relaxing stringent planning regulations." Western Windpower is relieved at the National Trust's decision not to take the matter to the High Court. However, the company's Karen Lane points out that they already had planning permission for two smaller wind turbines on the site before the National Trust bought the park.
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