Unanimous rejection for Hemswell Cliff wind farm plans

Hundreds clapped and cheered as Lincolnshire councillors unanimously rejected a proposal to build a wind farm near Hemswell Cliff, north of Lincoln.

More than 350 people attended the special planning meeting held by West Lindsey District Council at Lincolnshire Showground on Wednesday, October 30.

Throughout the day, the council’s planning committee listened to arguments for and against the wind farm proposal and debated the plans.

In the evening, the councillors made their final statement and unanimously voted against the wind farm at Hemswell Cliff.

As previously reported, the proposal was for ten turbines and ancillary infrastructure to generate 20 to 25 megawatt (MW), enough to meet demands of 11,600 homes each year.

The maximum blade tip height would have been 126.5m, with turbines placed across agricultural fields between A15 (Ermine Street) and B1398 (Middle Street).

Objections to the plans by RWE Npower Renewables Ltd came from all surrounding villages in the area.

Hemswell Cliff, a former RAF camp, now a residential area and business park, is in the south of the proposed wind farm, with Hemswell Primary School 1.1km south of the nearest turbine.

Some 2,000 letters of objection to the plans were received by the council, mainly from the Gainsborough area, across the district, and including many in the surrounding villages.

Among many others, the Ministry of Defence initially objected to the development as the turbines could cause interference with radar equipment at RAF Conningsby, Cranwell and Waddington, creating ‘false aircraft returns’. This was later mitigated after discussions with the developers.

There were also around 900 letters of support for the proposal, while the City of Lincoln Council and all other neighbouring district authorities had no objections.

You can read all the for and against arguments for the winds farm in the planning document.

Neil Parnell, RWE npower renewables’ Developer of the proposed wind farm said: “We are disappointed that the West Lindsey Planning Committee has refused our application.

“We have worked hard over the last few years and consulted with the local community to develop a wind farm that we consider is well designed and suitable for the area.

“This decision was particularly disappointing in light of our announcement that we will reduce the wind farm by one turbine to deal with detrimental heritage impacts as raised in the planning officer’s report.

“We believe that many local, regional and national benefits could be realised if Hemswell Cliff wind farm was built.

“Not only would we gain the opportunity to generate cleaner renewable energy but there would be both economic and community benefits on offer including a Community Investment Fund worth up to £3 million.

“We will now be considering our next steps including the option to refer this decision to appeal where it would ultimately be determined by an independently appointed government planning inspector.”