Proposed schemes ‘could change face of East Riding forever’
A senior Tory councillor has warned that the landscape of the East Riding faces a fundamental change with planners facing an uphill struggle to resist a flood of wind farm applications.
East Riding Council is holding a special planning meeting in the new year to decide four applications for wind farms, which could together produce more than 90 megawatts of energy.
Two of the applications concern the isolated Holderness village of Roos, which could end up as one of the worst affected by the developments in the area.
Councillor Symon Fraser said developers were bound to look at a relatively narrow strip of the Yorkshire coast, where it was windiest.
He said: “We are very concerned about this proliferation of wind farms and how little influence we actually have. The Government planning guidance we have to follow says we can’t refuse one on the grounds of it not being a significant contributor to energy production; we can’t use the fact that they may not be economical.
“The only grounds that we have any clout in is the impact on landscape or on the amenity of close residents.
“It’s a very tightly constrained situation that we are in; if they go to appeal the first book of rules that the Inspector opens is the Government book of rules.
“I have real concerns that we are going to see a fundamental change to our East Riding landscape.”
Residents in Roos ““ where a fourth scheme to the north-east of the village was announced only last week by developer Energiekontor ““ have already complained about the number of wind farm projects on their doorstep.
The county has been set the highest green energy target of any authority in Yorkshire.
By 2021 the area has to produce some 120 megawatts of energy from wind power, 17 megawatts from burning wood and biogas, and nearly 11 megawatts from solar energy.
It currently produces slightly more than nine megawatts from a single wind farm at Out Newton.
A controversial 12-turbine scheme, at Rusholme, east of Drax power station, was recently given planning permission by Selby councillors.
Helen Kirk, a scientist and executive secretary of Thorne and Hatfield Moors Conservation Forum, who has campaigned against wind farms being developed on the Humberhead Levels, said: “My concern is that planning now appears to be heading completely in favour of development at the cost of the natural environment.
“The recent decision at Rusholme is worrying because it’s been approved despite its proximity to the internationally important and protected Humber estuary.”
The East Riding Council says four schemes: E-ON’s three-turbine scheme at Pilmar Lane, Roos, RES’s 11-turbine scheme at Rectory Road, Roos, a 12-turbine scheme at Lissett by Novera Energy and a 15-turbine scheme at Hall Farm, Routh, by Ridgewind will go before planners in the new year at one, possibly two, planning meetings.
However they haven’t said when they will be considering seven other applications, including plans for a 16-turbine scheme at Goole Fields by npower renewables which dates back to 2003.
Richard Purcell, the East Riding Council’s strategic development services manager, said there were “genuine reasons” why some plans were taking a long time to be decided “with some applications generating hundreds of letters from the public and lengthy correspondence between the council, applicants and statutory consultees to ensure that all issues are addressed and understood.
He added: “Some nature surveys can only be done at certain times of the year and some applications have raised very technical issues of effects on radar at airports.
“With some proposals being close to others the cumulative visual impacts also need to be understood.”
By Alexandra Wood
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