Campaigners have admitted they have reached the end of the road in their fight against two controversial wind farm plans following a legal ruling.
The comment came after a High Court judge decided there was insufficient evidence to overturn planning consent for the Chiplow and Jack’s Lane developments at Bagthorpe and Stanhoe respectively.
Jonathan Powell, chairman of Creakes Action for Protecting the Environment (CAPE), one of two campaign groups which brought the case, said: “I think it’s the end of the line. The cost of doing this is out of all proportion for a small village group.
“People have been brave, courageous and hardworking, but there is a limit and you’re taking on huge interests.”
CAPE, together with Against Turbines at Chiplow (ATAC) had been seeking a ruling which would have forced the government to look at the plans again.
They argued that a government planning inspector had failed to take proper account of evidence given by an expert at a public inquiry last year, who said the impact on a nearby ancient monument, Bloodgate Hill Fort, would be greater than he initially thought.
But the judge, Mrs Justice Lang, rejected their claims in a ruling announced on Tuesday.
She said there was insufficient evidence to support campaigners’ claims that the discrepancy amounted to a major change in the expert’s testimony, pointing out that the difference had been made clear in written submissions.
She added: “In my judgment, on a straightforward reading of the decision letter, there is no genuine doubt as to what the inspector decided and why, and therefore the reasons why the challenge must fail.”
Mr Powell said he felt local residents, who have fought the plans for more than three years, were “numb” at the ruling.
And he claimed on-shore wind farms did not deliver enough for the money spent on them.
He added: “Our open spaces are increasingly rare. We need to guard them and if we’re going to give them up, make sure the reasons justify them. In this case they don’t.”