THE refusal of plans for a wind farm in the West Wight does not signal a blanket opposition to turbines, according to the Isle of Wight Council.
Following last night’s Isle of Wight Council planning committee refusal for plans to build five 100m turbines on farmland near Wellow and Thorley, economy and environment cabinet member Cllr George Brown said: "The decision to refuse this application is not a signal of a blanket opposition to onshore wind turbines — it merely highlights that such developments must not impinge on the Island's most protected areas.
"This is in line with national planning policies introduced by the last government and continued by their successors.
"On an Island where 50 per cent of the land is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this inevitably presents a challenge for developers but we must balance the benefits of such applications against the need to protect the very countryside that makes us such a popular location.
"Our role is to preserve and enhance the Island's natural beauty — if that can go hand in hand with renewable energy projects, all the better. The council has already given permissions for wind turbine schemes which were at the time compatible with this aim.
"It is important to note that there are other applications for wind turbines in the pipeline and these will be judged on their individual merits."
ThWART (The Wight Against Rural Turbines) said in a statement this morning it welcomed the decision to refuse the development.
"Our 3,000 supporters will be delighted this highly damaging proposal has been rejected. It’s a victory for the Isle of Wight, for its residents and the thousands of visitors who come here every year to enjoy the Island’s special, tranquil landscape," said ThWART chairman Malcolm Peplow.
ThWART has pledged to continue campaigning against separate plans for turbines at Great Park, near Carisbrooke and Parkhurst Forest.
The Infinergy application was a controversial one, attracting 1,274 letters of support and 836 letters of objection.
According to Isle of Wight Council a total of 177 people attended the planning meeting — 118 objectors, 36 supporters and 23 who did not express a preference.
Infinergy said last night it intended to appeal the decision.