Monday, 29 November 2021

Nature reserve happy at power plant refusal

THE trustees of a nature reserve are celebrating after plans for a miniature gas power station near Goring were turned down.

Balance Power Projects wanted to have four generators in a field to the west of Wallingford Road for 25 years.

But South Oxfordshire District Council’s planning committee refused permission on the grounds that the development would cause unacceptable harm to the landscape, character and scenic beauty of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The site is near Withymead, a 13-acre nature reserve which was managed by naturalist Anne Carpmael for 60 years.

Trustees of the Anne Carpmael Charitable Trust, which owns the reserve, say they are relieved that the plans were rejected as they were concerned about the effect of nitrogen dioxide emissions on visitors.

The reserve hosts a forest school, which is regularly visited by pupils from South Stoke Primary School.

Jenny Hedge, who chairs the trust, said: “It has been a long process to finally achieve this outcome.

“We first objected to this planning application in January, based on the impact of noise and air pollutants on the biodiversity of the Withymead site.

“We were determined this haven for wildlife nurtured for nearly 80 years, first by Anne Carpmael and now by the trust and its wardens, should remain exactly that, a haven for wildlife and for its visitors for many years to come.

“Our concern increased when in September the World Health Organisation published updated guidelines on air quality.

“The new guidelines reduce the acceptable levels of nitrogen dioxide emissions. In our view, this rendered the applicant’s projected levels for the reserve and the forest school site beyond an acceptable level in the long term.

“We are delighted the committee chose to protect the health of individuals living and working near, or visiting, sites such as Withymead.”

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