PLANS for a new link road outside Whiddon Down, funded by the company behind the Den Brook wind farm, have been approved.

The link road will connect the A382 and A3142 on the Exeter side of Whiddon Down, improving visibility and safety at the junction. It forms part of the access route for the Den Brook wind farm, which has already received full planning permission.

The road will ease delivery of turbine parts to the Den Brook site, between Spreyton and North Tawton. Although turbine deliveries could have negotiated the existing junction, Renewable Energy Systems, the company behind the wind farm, decided to pursue planning permission for the new link road.

Plans to improve this junction had been put forward previously by West Devon?Borough Council, but were shelved due to lack of local authority funding.

Chris Gosnay, chair of Drewsteignton Parish Council, said: 'It is excellent news. It is something that Whiddon Down has been fighting for for a long, long while. This link road was even part of a parish plan laid out years ago.

'The junction has always been a bit of a problem, with lorries getting stuck there, and a problem for other drivers. The fact that Renewable Energy Systems required a link road for their turbines has been of great benefit to the people of Whiddon Down.

'It appeared there was no way to get funding for the link road outside of this.'

Large lorries that regularly use the road, will be able to go through easily, and traffic will be taken away from the centre of Whiddon Down, greatly improving the quality of life for people living there, he added.

Dan Leahy, RES project manager, said: 'We are very pleased with the decision from West Devon Borough Council.

'The new link road will provide a long overdue upgrade to the existing junction, dramatically improving overall safety for all road users and making turbine deliveries to Den Brook Wind Farm much easier.

'These permanent improvements will be funded and built by RES and adopted by Devon County Council once work is complete, so all members of the public can benefit from the new link road.'

Providing the new road is one of several commitments RES has made to investing in the communities around Den Brook. Others include the provision of a community benefit fund of £36,000 per year once the wind farm is fully operational, which local people can invest in local good causes.

The company has also pledged to introduce a habitat improvement programme at the wind farm site, which includes replanting or repairing approximately 1,500 metres of hedgerow, introducing grassland conservation areas, and installing bird and bat boxes to encourage greater diversity in the local plant and animal populations.

RES is also seeking to vary a planning condition relating to noise for the wind farm site. The condition relates to amplitude modulation (AM), commonly known as 'wind swoosh' caused by blade rotation.

Mr Leahy said: 'It has been clear throughout the planning process that local people are very concerned about wind turbine amplitude modulation and want to be protected from it.

'As a responsible developer, we therefore want to ensure that the method for identifying wind turbine AM and measuring its impacts will work in practice and offer local communities genuine protection. We are not seeking to remove the condition, but we do want to make sure that it is fit for purpose.'

The application to alter the noise condition has not yet been submitted to the borough council.

Work will start on the link road in late 2013 or early 2014, and last approximately five months. Construction of the wind farm is likely to follow in late 2013, with turbine deliveries in late 2014.