A GIANT wind turbine erected by a Bodmin firm without planning permission can continue operating.
A government inspector has allowed an appeal by the Dingle Brothers and quashed enforcement action by Cornwall Council which had ordered the removal of the 250-foot high structure.
The turbine was erected illegally 12 months ago in defiance of a stop notice issued by the local authority which was considering instigating court action for the serious planning breach.
But the successful appeal by Graham Dingle has ended any chance of the council forcing its removal apart from an expensive legal battle in the High Court challenging the inspector's decision.
Mr Dingle said this week he was delighted at the inspector's ruling that the turbine could now operate for another 25 years.
"It's a great weight off our minds, but it proves we were right all along.
"Putting the turbine up in the first place (without planning consent) may have been wrong, but we believed we should have had planning permission from the council.
"The inspector has not put a single condition in place regarding the turbine, and it has been operating for 12 months now with no complaints from anyone as far as I know, and in that time the turbine has generated electricity to displace 20 articulated lorry loads of diesel if generated with a diesel-driven generator,'' said Mr Dingle.
Planning inspector Graham Dudley said the turbine at Callywith made a good contribution to the provision of renewable energy, and dismissed concerns it was harmful to the area including to the Glynn Valley Crematorium, which had strongly objected to the turbine being built.
"In my view, the limited harm the turbine causes because of its physical presence is far outweighed by the benefit the turbine provides in the generation of renewable energy,'' said Mr Dudley.
"I also acknowledge the turbine is visible from the crematorium and grounds. However it is a considerable distance away so it is a relatively small feature on the horizon and there would be no noise impact from it.
"While the turbine blade rotation is visible, this is a relatively tranquil movement and I do not consider that the solemnity of the events at the crematorium would be affected by a turbine so far away.''
Cornwall councillor for the area, Mick Martin, said many will find the planning inspector's ruling baffling.
"On behalf of the many objectors to this particular wind turbine I am disappointed with the decision taken by an officer of the Planning Inspectorate.
"Unfortunately the officer could not take into account the blatant disregard to the planning regulations; those very same regulations subsequently allowed the applicants to win their planning appeal. Some may find that difficult to comprehend."
A spokesperson for Cornwall Council's planning department said: "This was an unusual case and the council is naturally disappointed with the outcome of this enforcement appeal.
"The council notes and respects the inspector's findings and will continue to work with developers and all interested parties to ensure planning applications are complete and as far as possible address any possible adverse impacts that may arise.''