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Council slams the brakes on Lincolnshire wind farms

Lincolnshire County Council on Wednesday voted at an Executive meeting to call a halt to the spread of wind turbines across the county.

There are 75 wind turbines in the county, with dozens more in the pipeline.

Councillor Martin Hill, Leader of the County Council, said: “There’s been a proliferation of wind farms across Lincolnshire in recent years, and we feel that enough is enough.

“Although we understand the need for alternative energy and are not opposed to all wind farms, we remain unconvinced by the questionable science behind them.

“Not only are these things spoiling our beautiful countryside for future generations, they could also seriously damage our tourism industry – who wants to spend their holiday looking at a 400ft turbine?

“Similarly, who wants to live next door to one? People enjoy living in Lincolnshire because we have a great way of life, not because the landscape’s blighted by wind farms.

“On top of that, there are also issues around the damage caused to roads during the construction and decommissioning of turbines.

“And at a time of rising ‘fuel poverty’ people shouldn’t have to subsidise these developments through their energy bills.

“For these reasons, we want to raise the bar even higher for anyone wanting to construct a wind farm in the county, and urge them to think twice about the impact their plans will have.”

Planning applications for wind farms under 50Mw are determined by district councils, with the County Council as a potential discretionary consultee.

Planning applications for wind farms 50Mw and above are determined by the Secretary of State, with the county council as a statutory consultee.

Conservative MP for Lincoln Karl McCartney added: “This is an issue that I, along with 101 of my colleagues in Parliament, have written to the Prime Minister, Rt Hon David Cameron MP, about.

“I strongly feel that the government should either freeze or decrease the number of wind farms planned for the UK, especially those sited on our green and pleasant land, as I feel that there are many other low carbon alternatives available to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels.

“Although the government is correct to promote low carbon energy sources, we need to be investing in the right type of alternative fuel sources, and for far too long the government has tilted resources too far in favour of onshore wind farms.

“There are a number of problems associated with this renewable resource which mitigate its viability as an alternative fuel source.”

Tougher wind farm rules

The executive committee of Conservative controlled Lincolnshire County Council voted unanimously to approve the new planning position statement on the building of onshore wind farms within Lincolnshire.

This new statement places a renewed focus on developers meeting strict planning criteria before building wind farms, focussing on the following key areas:

Landscape and cumulative visual impact: The County Council is concerned that the proliferation of onshore wind farm proposals would, if approved and implemented, result in the industrialisation and urbanisation of a highly rural county renowned and characterised by its big skies and uninterrupted vistas.

Impact on the historic and natural environment: Wind turbine development should not take place in areas of historic importance or in such a way to impact on the visual outlook of such sites, e.g. cathedrals, parish churches

Residential amenity: Amenity of existing residential occupants must be maintained at an acceptable level in particular, no wind turbine should be constructed within 2km of a single residential property, and no wind farms should be constructed with 10km of a village with more than 10 properties.

Related infrastructure: The presumption is for connecting cables to be placed underground and use made of existing or replacement pylons (of the same size and scale) along existing routes to carry the additional base load cabling. We will also require that all above and below ground infrastructure is removed post decommissioning and a bond held by the local authority to ensure compliance.

Construction vehicles: to mitigate the obvious impact on the roads network a bond should be paid, upfront, before any works commence.

Local economy: Whether individually or cumulatively wind farm developments should not have a negative impact upon the local economy, particularly upon tourism.

Photo: Richard Croft