THE ENERGY firm behind a proposed wind farm near Tolpuddle has announced it is withdrawing the application.

West Coast Energy had submitted an application for the 10MW West Dorset Wind Farm, which it claims would have injected millions of pounds into the local community.

The company says it has regretfully withdrawn the plans in the light of ongoing UK Government ministerial policy announcements with regards to the renewable energy industry.

The news has been welcomed by campaigners who have spent years fighting the proposals.

Rob Tate, Managing Director of West Coast Energy, said this morning: “It is with regret that we have had to make this announcement, but with the lack of a stable energy policy and planning regime for renewables in the UK at this present time we cannot proceed with the development. “It is especially frustrating to be making this announcement at a time when the cost of onshore wind energy is set to become the cheapest source of electricity for the consumer.

“We wish to thank the large number of local people who supported the project for their tireless efforts in promoting the considerable benefits of the project.”

West Coast Energy said that as well as representing a £10million infrastructure investment, the wind farm would have provided more than £1.6million in community benefit funding over its 25-year operation.

The company originally outlined plans for up to nine turbines measuring as high as 126 metres in 2012 but, following opposition from local residents who set up the TAINT (Tolpuddle Against Industrial Turbines) group, the plans were revised and an application for five turbines up to 115m in height were submitted to West Dorset District Council last year.

Katharine Butler hosted a number of events for the TAINT group at her home at Waterston Manor.

She said the group was delighted that the application had been withdrawn but they were also aware that fellow campaigners fighting a similar wind farm development at Slyer's Lane near Charminster still had a battle on their hands.

Mrs Butler said that TAINT members had discovered the news about the withdrawal of the application for the West Dorset Wind Farm shortly after a meeting to discuss their campaigning and fundraising for the months ahead.

She said: "We are delighted that it's ended in a relatively peaceful settlement, it wasn't an acrimonious fight.

"We are all extremely relieved and delighted."