Protesters have scored a double victory this week after councillors backed campaigns to block two major new developments.
Controversial plans to build a five-turbine windfarm in Rainworth, and proposals for a recycling plant on Mansfield’s Crown Farm Industrial Park, both went before Mansfield District Council’s Planning Committee on Monday.
In both cases the majority of committee members sided with the protest groups and voted against the proposals – although it is only a partial victory for campaigners as other authorities will have the final say on both developments.
Planning chiefs at Newark & Sherwood District Council will decide on energy giant Npower Renewables’ windfarm proposals later this year, while Nottinghamshire County Council will have the final say on Veolia’s plans for a recycling plant.
Veolia says the recycling plant would bring up to 40 local jobs to the area and help increase recycling levels and reduce the use of landfill across Nottinghamshire.
It would process up to 85,000 tonnes of recyclable materials a year, including paper, card, plastic bottles and aluminium cans as part of a 26-year waste management contract with the county council.
But campaign group Mansfield Against Incineration (MAIN) says the proposed Crown Farm site is a poor choice of location and not supported by adequate road networks.
Group spokesman Shlomo Dowen yesterday praised district councillors for their surprise decision to object to the proposals – going against the advice of planning officers, who said the plant would not significantly worsen traffic problems.
Said Mr Dowen: “MAIN is thrilled with this decision, which sends a clear message to Nottinghamshire County Council that the council is prepared to stand up for its constituents in Forest Town and Oak Tree.
“It’s a fantastic decision and we hope that Nottinghamshire County Council will take notice.”
But it was a narrow victory for the protesters because the objection was passed by a majority of just two votes – and members then appeared initially to struggle to decide on their reasons for objecting.
After some discussion, councillors agreed to object on the grounds of increased traffic problems and fears that an outside waste storage unit could attract vermin.
During the meeting, members also voted to lodge an objection with Newark & Sherwood District Council over Npower Renewable’s plans for a five turbine windfarm on land off Rainworth’s Blidworth Lane.
Npower Renewable says the windfarm would create enough renewable energy for around 5,000 homes and would help tackle climate change by offsetting up to 20,600 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide each year.
But Rainworth residents Jill Pullan and Stuart Morris both spoke in opposition to the plans, arguing that the 125-metre high structures would disrupt locals with both their appearance and noise – and would also endanger local wildlife at four nearby environmental sites.
Said Mr Morris: “The visual impact this proposal will have upon our community is immense ““”“ the turbines are incomprehensibly large, perhaps the biggest in the country.
“We are not against renewable energy, but we have to object to such structures being sited so close to our homes.”
Despite the setback Project Manager Cath Stevenson told Chad after the meeting that Npower Renewables still considered the Rainworth site an appropriate location for a windfarm.
She said: “The Mansfield planning councillors have missed a fantastic opportunity to make a statement that they are serious about the need to utilise renewable energy sources and consequently help to tackle climate change.”