THE long awaited public inquiry into controversial plans to build a wind farm between three West Devon villages resumed in Okehampton last week.

The Den Brook wind farm public inquiry finished on Monday, after five days of evidence.

The application by Renewable Energy Systems (RES) for the construction of nine, 120-metre high wind turbines between Bow, North Tawton and Spreyton has been ongoing since 2005.

The inquiry, held in the Ockment Centre, saw further evidence of noise issues submitted by data analyst and noise experts, from both sides.

Additional noise monitoring was carried out by RES at four new locations near the site, which was submitted to the planning inspectorate.

Project manager for RES Rachel Ruffle said: 'We are pleased to say that the latest noise analysis, carried out for us by independent noise experts and based on additional monitoring at the site, re-confirms our original assessment that the wind farm will be within noise limits and will not therefore cause a nuisance to nearby residents.'

Rachel Ruffle said the wind farm could make an important contribution to the UK's energy needs and had been carefully designed to do so with minimum impacts on the local community and environment.

She said: 'We are grateful for the support shown by many members of the public who now just want to see the wind farm built and generating clean, green power for Devon — the costly delays to the project benefit no-one.'

RES says its proposed wind farm will generate green electricity equivalent to the annual needs of more than 8,000 homes a year and reduce emissions of carbon dioxide.

They also claim the wind farm will improve wildlife habitats at the site, provide a sustainable income for farmers who own the land and create jobs during construction, using local sources of labour and materials wherever possible.

But member of Den Brook Judicial Review Group (DBJRG) Mike Hulme said evidence given against the turbines was strong.

He said three of the wind industry's leading noise experts were present at the inquiry.

Mr Hulme said the experts referred to the claims put forward by DBJRG that RES had not only misled by not properly assessing all the aspects necessary for providing a robust analysis, but that procedures adopted by RES fell far short of current planning policy guidance on noise.

Mr Hulme said: 'DBJRG's team presented a clear and unequivocal case demonstrating shortfall after shortfall within the evidence presented by RES.'

Mr Hulme, who has been spearheading the noise case for more than four years, said by using the developer's own data, the team provided incontrovertible evidence that the proposal would create a significant noise nuisance at numerous nearby homes.

Mr Hulme said: 'The bottom line is that RES have not complied with the noise assessment guidance as written.

'For the first time in public the developers and their noise experts have admitted or accepted, that the noise guidance was badly drafted.'

Mr Hulme expressed thanks to the experts and legal team who supported the case against RES.

He said: 'It is now plain the proponents of industrial scale onshore wind farms need to go back to the drawing board when it comes to assessing the impact of wind turbine noise pollution upon nearby neighbours.'

The inspector's decision is expected towards the end of the year.