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11:00 - 15 January 2005
The Government's lack of a national energy policy has led to parts of the Westcountry being used as a guinea pig in an experiment for wind energy, a public meeting was told last night. The meeting at North Tawton was organised by the Den Brook Valley Action Group, which is campaigning against proposals to build a windfarm near the West Devon village.

The meeting was chaired by Torridge and West Devon Liberal Democrat MP John Burnett, who suggested that a Royal Commission should be set up to determine an energy policy for the UK.

"A Royal Commission would inform everyone, not just MPs," Mr Burnett said.

"It's a great shame that because we have no policy, parts of my constituency and the Westcountry are guinea pigs in an untried and unproven experiment."

Among the speakers at the meeting was Noel Edmonds, chairman of the Renewal Energy Foundation, who said the case for the Den Brook wind farm used misleading information.

He said that when first asked for his views on wind energy he had replied that it was a good thing, but he had since found out how little he knew.

"I was green-washed by the propaganda put out by the energy companies. This whole issue is about making money," he said.

"This is not a Nimby issue or even an aesthetic one. Onshore wind turbines are not effective. If they were, we would have to accept them all over Dartmoor, Exmoor and the rest of the UK."