British campaigners were celebrating victory yesterday in a second Battle of Agincourt after plans to build a wind farm near the scene of Henry V's 1415 victory in northern France were abandoned.
Activists in Monmouth, where Henry V was born in 1387, were joined by French villagers in a two-year campaign against the proposal for four 459 ft wind turbines to be sited half a mile from the battlefield.
The site, where Welsh archers killed 8,000 French troops, has remained untouched for 600 years. Opponents of the turbines argued that the wind farm would desecrate the site, which is visited by thousands of British tourists every year.
Among those who joined the campaign of opposition was the actor Robert Hardy, a member of the English Heritage battlefields panel and patron of the Battlefields Trust.
Last night he said he was "enormously relieved" that the turbines would not now be built. "I'm afraid I think it would have been a desecration," he said. "It is an extraordinary historic site and a place of mass burial. It is also an unspoiled piece of north French countryside."
Last year, in a letter to The Daily Telegraph, Hardy wrote: "For nearly 600 years, apart from disruptions to two world wars, the land that lies between the villages of Agincourt, Tramecourt and Maisoncelle has been the honoured resting place of thousands who fought there on Oct 25, 1415.
"A battlefield is much more than a place of burial: if unspoilt, it is a place to pursue historical truth. It is where very many men, following their beliefs and their loyalties, thought it right to try those values to the death. It is better to honour such places than to let them fall victim to the spread of concrete."
Many villagers in Agincourt joined the British campaign, fearing that their income from British tourism would be at risk if the wind farm went ahead. They also feared that the turbines would be noisy, interfere with television reception and devalue their homes.
Patrick Fenet, one of the French campaigners, said the decision not to proceed was a "fantastic Christmas present".
He added: "This is a great victory for ourselves and our British friends who fought so hard against a project that would have had a devastating impact on both tourism and the environment.
"In the end it was not a decision by the authorities but by the developer, who recognised there were technical difficulties. I am sure they also took account of the very strong campaign of opposition that we had already mounted."
Don Baggs, a retired management consultant, who led the campaign from Monmouth until his recent move to France, said he was "jubilant".
"Like the first battle of Agincourt, it was a victory against the odds. The original battle took two hours and thousands of people died. The second battle took two years and no blood was spilt," he added.
"And it was all the better because the French and the English worked together to achieve this victory."
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