Sir David Attenborough has enraged conservationists by giving backing plans for a 230ft wind turbine to be built by Glyndebourne opera house in the proposed South Downs national park.

The veteran broadcaster, giving evidence to a public inquiry, claimed the huge structure would have no more impact on the protected landscape beloved of walkers than a traditional windmill. He said Glyndebourne's plan to generate renewable energy by using the turbine near the site of a former windmill on Mill Plain, between the villages of Glyndebourne and Ringmer in East Sussex, was "wholly admirable".

Sir David told the meeting in Lewes: "I greatly applaud the plan by Glyndebourne Opera to erect a wind turbine to help power its operations. "I have been visiting Glyndebourne Opera since the 1950s and am well aware of its pre-eminent international reputation.

"That such a celebrated institution should pay such regard to its environmental responsibilities seemed to me to be wholly admirable, demonstrating as it does that some communities really do take the ecological challenge seriously and do not simply utter pious words and leave it to others to take action."

Speaking outside the hearing Stella Nunn, 61, said afterwards: "To be honest we are in awe to have Sir David speaking here and we agree with much of what he said in regards to saving the environment, but he's missing the point in regards to the efficiency of the wind turbine.


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