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November 15 2004
The European Court is to be asked to intervene over controversial plans to build three giant turbines, in what would be Devon's second commercial windfarm.

The residents of Higher Darracott, near Torrington in North Devon are objecting to a scheme to build the three 266ft-high turbines - each higher than Nelson's Column - to be built in the village.

The 3.9MW development, capable of providing power for more than 2,000 homes, was given the go-ahead following a public inquiry, held in May.

Pat and Arthur Poulton, whose home lies just 470m from the nearest of the proposed turbines, challenged the inspector's decision and called for a judicial review of the outcome, which was due to be heard in the High Court on November 5.

However, after the case was formally dismissed, the couple have now decided to take their case against the scheme to the European Court of Human Rights, based in Strasbourg, France.

They believe their human rights will be violated by the construction, by West Coast Energy, so close to their home, as their property could be devalued by up to 50 per cent.

Mrs Poulton said she believed the noise from the turbines, including "acoustic radiation" - the low frequency vibration given off by the turbines - would have a detrimental effect on her family's well-being.

"It is just not right that these electricity generating power stations are allowed to be built so close to people's homes," she said.

"The owners of the proposed site (arable farmers Perry and Sara George) and the developers are not the least bit interested in the fact their development devalues my property and affects my quality of life.

"What is the point of building these monstrous machines when the country's leading experts on global warming reckon that even if the whole of the UK were to be covered with wind turbines, it would make not one jot of difference in the battle to halt global warming?"

However, speaking earlier this year, Mr and Mrs George said they believed there is a growing need for renewable energy supplies to be introduced to help combat the mounting threat posed by dependence on fossil fuels.

"Wind turbines and other renewables are needed and we should receive approval. We want to do our bit. It is important that everyone starts doing their bit for future generations," said Mr George.

"Three turbines might only be a small part in the fight against global warming, but it's important to start taking action. A lot of the people who are opposed to our turbines and onshore wind power are not coming up with any good reasons. Also a lot of them do not come up with any good alternatives."