THE STORY SO FAR… KEY EVENTS


2004

June

Planning application from RES Developments Ltd. for anemometer

 

Oct/Nov

RES undertake noise measurements at 2 nearby houses

2005

 

RES submit planning application for nine wind turbines (considerably taller than originally proposed) together with the Environmental Survey to West Devon Borough Council (WDBC)

 

Dec

Den Brook Valley Action Group hand in nearly 3,000 letters of objection to WDBC

2006

Jan

WDBC refuses planning permission

 

May

RES file Planning Appeal

 

Nov

Public Inquiry held

2007

Feb

Planning Appeal allowed, and planning permission granted

 

Mar

Judicial Appeal against the Inspector’s decision lodged with the High Court in London by Mike Hulme and newly formed Den Brook Judicial Review Group (DBJRG)

2008

Mar

Judicial Appeal refused by High Court

 

Apr

Request to Appeal High Court judgement submitted to Court of Appeal

 

June

Permission to appeal granted

 

July

Consent Order agreed and signed; scheduled Appeal Hearing cancelled

 

Aug

Consent Order ratified by Court of Appeal. Planning permission quashed and sent back to Planning Inspectorate for re-determination.

 

Sept

The Planning Inspectorate seek comments on a fresh Inquiry

 

Nov

The Planning Inspectorate proposes March 2009 for a two day Public Inquiry– date to be confirmed. RES announce that Supplementary Environmental Information will be provided “as soon as possible”.

2009

Feb

WBDC notify residents that the Inquiry will not now take place in March 2009. Is postponed until further notice

 

Feb

RES press for a July date for the Inquiry without having released the data promised last November, and ignoring dates unsuitable to DBJRG experts

 

Mar

RES release Supplementary Environmental Information data showing a different enonmental Impact of the Windfarm - date of next Inquiry not yet finalised.

 

Apr

6 day Public Inquiry timetabled for 23/07/2009 10.00am at Okehampton College Gym, Okehampton College, Mill Road, Okehampton EX20 1PW

 

June

PIM (Pre Inquiry Meeting) at Spreyton Village Hall on 01/06/2009 at 10am to plan with the Inspector how the Inquiry will be run

 

July

23 July - 3 August:- PUBLIC INQUIRY
Okehampton College Gym, Okehampton College,
Mill Road, Okehampton, EX20 1PW

 

Oct

Oct 20-26 October: PUBLIC INQUIRY continued
Noise Evidence from Inquiry July 23 - August 3 adjourned to this date.
Venue: Ockment Community Centre, North Street, Okehampton, EX20 1AR

 

Dec

Decision announced to grant RES' appeal, giving the go ahead for the building of the windfarm with conditions attached. Click here for the full decision

2010

Jan

Appeal lodged by Mike Hulme against the Decision above.

 

Feb

DBJRG Ltd to be wound up. DBJRG to continue as a voluntary group, supporting Mike Hulme's Appeal

The Background

In 2004 when RES first asked Mike Hulme if it could monitor background noise at his property, Coxmoor, as part of the noise impact assessment for its proposed wind farm at Den Brook, he agreed on the basis that RES would share the data collected with him.

However, despite frequent requests once the monitoring was complete, it took 3 years and a High Court case to persuade RES to hand over the data.

Like many local residents you might wonder WHY RES was so unwilling to publicise this background noise data?

Was there something in it or in the assessment of it, RES did not wish to make public?

The judge in the High Court case certainly wondered. He said the reasons RES gave for not providing the data were 'thoroughly unconvincing' and 'incomprehensible and nonsensical' and found RES's attitude to disclosure of the information lead to 'suspicion as to [its] motive'.

After the High Court case, when the data was finally released and reviewed by experts appointed by DBJRG, it became clear that RES had made some very basic mistakes in the data processing. Shortly afterwards, anxious to avoid a hearing in front of the Court of Appeal, RES acknowledged these errors. Although it tried to dismiss them as 'insignificant', in August 2008 it also agreed that planning permission for the development be quashed because of the errors.

As well as the mistakes admitted by RES, further errors and discrepancies were found in the data assessment. So far RES has not acknowledged these, claiming they are simply due to differences in the methodology used to analyse the data. RES says the methods used in its original noise assessment were 'appropriate at the time' although it also appears to agree that other methods suggested by DBJRG's experts are more robust – indeed RES has used these in several of its more recent wind farm applications.

All of this leads one to wonder about the information RES produced to back up the Den Brook wind farm project. How reliable is it? As well as errors in the noise assessment, are there other errors that are being brushed under the carpet in an effort to push through the wind farm proposal?


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