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Farmer spurns £1million wind turbine offer to protect countryside

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: April 04, 2014

Tony Dallyn of Winkleigh. Farmer who turned down £1m wind turbine

Tony Dallyn of Winkleigh. Farmer who turned down £1m wind turbine

Comments (8)

A Devon farmer turned down a £1 million offer to build a wind turbine on his land because he thought it would ruin the rural landscape only to find himself blighted by his neighbour's plan.

Tony Dallyn who lives near Winkleigh in the valley made famous by Michael Murpurgo's novel War Horse, spurned offers from two developers to site a 251ft tall turbine on his Loosedon Barton farm.

Renewable energy firms Murex and MI Grid told him the 500kW mast could earn him between £35,000 and £50,000 a year, adding up to a colossal £1.14 million in 20 years.

But Mr Dallyn, who inherited the farm from his parents and has lived there since 1961, said he would not be able to look people in the eye if he had taken the money and destroyed the idyllic appearance of the rolling countryside.

Now he is fighting plans by a neighbouring farmer, Martin Goddard whose controversial application for a similar 77m device is currently under appeal after being rejected unanimously by Winkleigh Parish Council and refused planning permission by Torridge District Council.

“The papers were on the table ready to be signed to give a company a two year option but we decided we just could not inflict such a turbine upon our neighbours and wider community,” he added.

"It would have been a life changing amount of money which could have financed the next step of the business but (the turbine) would have towered above the hillside and been a huge blight on the landscape.

“I didn’t want to be responsible - our farm is visible from everywhere north of Dartmoor and Okehampton into North Devon.

“The irony is that if we had built a turbine on our farm we would not have seen it from our house whilst the proposed turbine at Bryony Hill would be highly visible and is just 450m away.”

Battle lines were drawn in the sleepy Devon valley last year when developers began eyeing it as the perfect location for as many as 20 new turbines.

Campaigners warned the rash of projects could ruin the scenery and wreck the budding tourist industry which has been inspired by War Horse.

Mr Dallyn, who grows wheat and barley on his farm and hopes to pass the business on to his son, was joined in fighting the plans at Bryony Hill by Mr Morpurgo, who also formally objected.

The celebrated writer said he "vehemently opposes" the proposed tower in Okement Valley – where he lives and describes as an "oasis of peace and wonder".

A council planning meeting heard how the 70-year-old author was among 100 locals who lodged their objections to the device.

"We will have a random scattering of thousands of these huge wind turbines all over Devon, all over our countryside,” he wrote.

"It is that that I do not want, that I do not believe the people of Winkleigh want, and that now, it seems even the government says it does not want.

"If our democracy means anything, this should not and must not be allowed."

In a recent map drawn up by the Campaign to Protect Rural England, 11 turbines are currently in planning, with another nine in the pipeline.

Penny Mills, CPRE spokesman for Torridge, was among those objecting to the Bryony Hill Farm development, which is being handled by agents Mi-Grid, based in Blackwater, Cornwall.

Ms Mills, said it could cause "harm to the unspoilt landscape, to the setting of historic and heritage assets, proximity of people's homes".

English Heritage has also come out against the application, concluding that it would affect a number of medieval churches in the area.

Mr Dallyn believes the planning officer will uphold the decision to refuse the mast, but is adamant he will not regret turning down the cash even if it is overturned.

“It is a tough one to call and a lot of money to turn down and I can understand why some people would take it,” he added.

“I just feel I would like to leave my small patch of England as beautiful and unspoilt as it was when I inherited it.”

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  • notowindfits  |  April 05 2014, 2:19PM

    Thank you Mr Dallyn for not succumbing to the developers' financial lure. These developers stand to earn up to ten times what they are proposing to pay you and they won't be facing the wrath of the neighbours every time they venture out. If only more landowners had a conscience like you, rather than being subsidy hungry, the countryside would remain a beautiful and tranquil place.

    Rate   4
  • rolandsmith  |  April 05 2014, 12:23PM

    Mice - What we're celebrating is the fact that Mr Dallyn has spoken out in an honest way against the desecration of the Devon countryside through the building of these monstrosities along with the greed that goes with it. As to the outcome of the appeal, that will be the decision of an unelected Planning Inspector and you are correct in saying that it's far to soon to even think of the outcome of his/her decision.

    Rate   6
  • Mice470  |  April 04 2014, 2:56PM

    I somehow think that this celebration is a bit too premature. The developers have far more clout with the government and I would like to place a small bet that the council's objection will be overturned on appeal

    Rate 0
  • Tony248i  |  April 04 2014, 11:15AM

    This is all in any case down to the Government policy of subsidising these white elephants. And confusing reporting, with on turbine measured in feet and the other in metres?

    Rate   9
  • Adrian-Walker  |  April 04 2014, 9:53AM

    This is great to see. A Farmer who has inherited his livelihood like many other farmers through the generations, but rather than seeing it as his his birth right to do whatever he wants to his land to the detriment of all others, is a true custodian of the country side. Thank you Tony Dallyn.

    Rate   14
  • rolandsmith  |  April 04 2014, 7:47AM

    Well said Mr Dallyn and full marks for refusing the pot of gold from the turbine developers. Every unit of electricity generated by wind turbines, whether used on farm or sold to the grid, receives a generous feed-in tariff, costing us all more and more in ever-increasing energy bills and dragging many into fuel poverty. Full marks to this farmer for looking after his family farm and the surrounding countryside and at the same time thinking of his neighbours before his wallet.

    Rate   17
  • PAWB46  |  April 04 2014, 7:03AM

    What a fine farmer. It is good to know that there are many hundreds of honest farmers out there who care about their neighbours and don't want to ruin the beautiful Devon countryside with useless, unreliable wind turbines, depite the huge bribes offered by unscrupulous developers. Mi-Grid and Murex seem determined to ruin the countryside - it's greed, pure and simple. Everybody else ends up paying more for their electricity.

    Rate   17
  • AnnieBelle  |  April 03 2014, 9:06PM

    Good for Mr. Dallyn for not selling his soul to a wind devil. There are still decent people around who have morals and a good conscience. Too bad others can only see the dollar signs in front of their eyes. It's what the corrupt wind industry counts on. Kind of like dealing with the mafia.

    Rate   24