A Cornish poultry farmer could face having to sell his farm after planning permission for two wind turbines was overturned by the Planning Inspectorate.
Simon Andrews and his wife Debbie rear organic turkeys, geese and Longhorn cattle at South Torfrey Farm, Fowey, Cornwall, and erected two 20kW wind turbines after obtaining planning permission on appeal in 2013.
However, a nearby resident objected against the decision, taking the case to the High Court, which subsequently overturned the approval.
Mr and Mrs Andrews have now been served an enforcement notice to remove the turbines, which cost them about £160,000 to install.
“In their first year the turbines generated about 100,000 units of electricity, which is worth about £24,000,” said Mr Andrews.
“At 100 acres we are only a small farm, so we needed to diversify. If I have to take the turbines down the business just won’t be able to take it, and we’d have to sell up.”
The Planning Inspectorate said the benefits of the turbines were outweighed by the damaging visual impact on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and designated heritage assets, including a Grade I listed church and Grade II listed house owned by the objecting resident.
However, Mr Andrews insisted that the turbines were barely visible from these viewpoints, and had been approved permission following considerable consultation with a wide range of planning and renewable experts.
“We are dealing with a clash of cultures – people move to a beautiful area often to retire and want the environment to remain as it was the day they moved in, whereas those people making a living have to move with the times and diversify to stay in business,” he said.
“The G7 have said it is time to move away from burning fossil fuel – I am trying to move in that direction by making my business carbon neutral.
“We’ve got holiday cottages here that run off the turbines and our visitors like the fact that there’s no carbon footprint.
“My turbines are 15m to the hub and classed as very small. If mine have to come down how about the others which are much larger?”
Paul Cottington, south-west NFU environment adviser, said it was extremely difficult to plan renewable projects when such loopholes could result in permission being withdrawn.
“Mr Andrews very rightly erected the turbines after receiving planning permission.
One would reasonably think you had a solid application because you’d gone through the planning process, consulted with local people and met local policies. It’s a real issue and a real cost.”