FIVE of the tallest wind turbines in Cornwall will loom over the St Breock Downs skyline after an energy company was granted planning consent to erect them.
Renewable Energy Generation Limited (REG) has won approval for the 100-metre-high structures from Cornwall Council's Strategic Planning Committee.
The five new turbines will replace 11 presently on the site which were erected in 1994. The new structures will be almost twice their height.
In return for planning permission, REG has agreed to set up a community benefit fund for local projects which could result in £1.25 million being released over the next 25 years, the lifetime of the new turbines.
REG expects formal consent to follow shortly and, subject to the subsequent statutory three-month legal challenge period, anticipates the project moving into construction next year.
REG acquired the operating wind farm in 2010 with the aim of repowering the site to almost treble its energy generation. Andrew Whalley, chief executive officer for the company, said: "Achieving a resolution to grant permission at local authority is always welcome and we were heartened by the council's endorsement of our approach to local engagement and community benefits.
"Cornwall Council's decision is particularly pleasing as it demonstrates the value of our willingness to pursue less conventional projects.
"St Breock is an extremely energetic site and we will aim to progress the scheme into construction quickly, through our in-house team, once the statutory challenge period expires."
The planning application was supported by St Breock parish and Wadebridge town councils, but received seven objections from local residents.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England's Cornwall branch objected to the new turbines, saying they are too tall; that they will change the character of the surrounding countryside; and that the development will prove to be detrimental to an Area Of Great Landscape Value.
Cornwall councillor for the St Breock area, Jeremy Rowe, supported the planning application.
He said: "I had no problem with the new turbines but I must admit I was surprised there were so few objections to them. However, all the neighbouring councils supported the application.
"I'm particularly pleased the company will be including a community benefit fund as part of the planning consent which will be extremely helpful to the area," said Mr Rowe.