Public inquiry into Silton wind turbine plan resumes today
THE public inquiry into a planning application by Ecotricity to erect four giant wind turbines on farmland at Silton resumes today, Tuesday, at The Exchange at Sturminster Newton.
After five days in March, the various parties will face each other again, ready for many more days of evidence and cross examination, as inspector Neil Pope weighs up the arguments on all sides.
Ecotricity, the Stroud based renewable energy company, is represented by David Hardy, a dually-qualified barrister and solicitor and partner in the leading renewables-supporting Leeds based firm Eversheds.
The other main parties are North Dorset District Council, which refused the applicaiton, Save our Silton, a group of local residents who oppose the scheme, and fellow opponents The Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
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There is very little evident support for the application. The 85 per cent of Dorset residents claimed by Ecotricity to be in favour of renewable energy and wind farms were notable by their absence at the earlier session.
Instead the public gallery, on the Exchange’s raked seating, is likely to be filled with local residents and representatives of various community and special interest groups, all opposing the scheme.
On the main floor of the hall the inspector sits in the middle, surrounded by banks of files, books and papers that make up the core material and supporting documents which will be referenced during the inquiry. They include local council policies, legal precedents, and a mass of submissions.
The inquiry resumes with a timetabling session which will sort out how many more days will be needed to hear all the evidence and submissions.
The various relevant sites were visited at the close of the first sitting of the inquiry, but further visits may still be require.
Keep checking This is Dorset for updates, and see Friday's Blackmore Vale Magazine for more.
By Gay Pirrie-Weir