A Frodsham resident has criticised councillors after his application for a wind turbine on his farm in the Green Belt was rejected by Cheshire West & Chester Council.
Hugh Pode was seeking to erect a small-scale wind turbine on land at Riley Bank Farm. A detailed application and supporting evidence was prepared by planning consultant Christopher Monckton and renewable energy company Eco Environments.
This was then recommended for approval by Cheshire West & Chester Council's planning department. In its report recommending approval, planners stated: "The proposed erection of one wind turbine on a 15 metre mast is considered to be of an acceptable design and will not have any unacceptable detrimental impact on neighbouring residential amenity. The merits of the proposal have been assessed and it is clear that the very special circumstances of the site and the proposal outweigh any harm by inappropriateness in the Green Belt."
Planners said they were satisfied about visual and landscape impact, the siting within Green Belt land and noise levels.
However, when the application was considered by the council's planning committee last week it was voted down after a ten-minute objection by Frodsham mayor Cllr Andrew Dawson, who bizarrely compared Pode's 6kw Proven Energy wind turbine with plans by Peel Energy for a wind farm on Frodsham marshes.
No other councillor spoke in the debate and Monckton was restricted to three minutes to put his case across. Eight councilors voted against and two in favour, with a single abstention.
David Hunt, a director with Eco Environments, said: "We have encountered many frustrating examples of councillors refusing permission for domestic wind turbines, but this one in Frodsham is in a totally different league.
"It seems that the application was turned down because of a single councillor's extraordinary ignorance and desire to stand in the way of progress.
"The planning process had been painstaking and Christopher Monckton had answered fully a number of questions asked by the planners, but it appears that months of detailed reporting counted for nothing when Cllr Dawson rose to his feet.
"I cannot comprehend how Cllr Dawson could even begin to link a single small-scale domestic wind turbine on someone's land with a fully fledged commercial wind farm on Frodsham marshes."
Monckton added: "We met all the conditions of the planning application and the processes followed by the planning department were exemplary. We went out of our way to ensure that every concern was answered fully. We will be appealing to the planning inspectorate and are extremely confident that the decision to refuse will be overturned."
The introduction of the Government's Feed-in-Tariff scheme in April last year was intended to hasten the number of homeowners and businesses considering installing turbines. Under the FIT regime, customers are paid for every kilowatt hour of electricity their system produces irrespective of whether they use it or not as well as being paid for electricity sold back to the national grid.