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Kate Adie backs battle to defend countryside
COUNTRYSIDE campaigners were bolstered by support from journalist Kate Adie at their annual meeting.
The war correspondent told of her experiences on the front line when she appeared at the annual meeting of the Dorset branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).
But she also backed the CPRE-backed Dorset Campaign Against Litter.
She told the audience that protection and care for surroundings are an indicator of a civilised society.
The annual meeting at Cerne Abbas village hall also heard of the increasing threat from windfarms, council policy and government legislation.
CPRE Dorset chairman Richard Nicholls told the branch’s annual meeting that the organisation had been increasingly drawn into the political arena in its attempt to protect the countryside.
He said that CPRE had opposed the Dorset Renewable Energy Strategy, drawn up by local councils, because it suggested that Dorset could take up to 360 industrial wind turbines.
He warned that under the policy most of these would be in the more beautiful parts of the county – West Dorset, North Dorset and Purbeck.
Mr Nicholls said CPRE had been told that the document would not be treated as a statutory policy– yet at public inquiries into windfarms at Alaska Farm in the Purbecks and at Silton in North Dorset, inspectors had taken the document into account.
He said he was angry that the document’s authors had promised to include landscape assessment as one of the criteria for deciding wind turbine sites – but had then failed to do so.
Objectors, including CPRE, won the Silton windfarm appeal, but lost at Alaska.
He said he worried about the apparent lack of democratic accountability from some councillors who ignored local opinion and voted on party lines.
Mr Nicholls said that he was equally worried by the power of groups such as the Local Enterprise Partnership who were given millions of pounds of public money, yet were not accountable to the taxpayers whose money they were spending.
Mr Nicholls told the meeting that despite concerns by many voluntary organisations CPRE Dorset remained one of the biggest CPRE branches in the country and was financially secure.