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First shots fired in wind farm inquiry 

Controversial plans for a wind farm at Tween Bridge near Thorne went to public inquiry this week.

The joint public inquiry will also look at a similar proposal for Keadby, near Scunthorpe, in North Lincolnshire.

The Thorne proposal by E.ON UK Renewables includes 22 80m-high turbines and is expected to make a significant contribution towards UK Government targets for renewable generation.

The first day of the inquiry on Tuesday, which is expected to run for 28 days, heard the opening statements from all the parties with an interest in the project.

Anthony Crean QC for Doncaster Council told the inspector Keith Smith that the proposal would harm Robin Hood Airport, unnecessarily “sterilise” coal reserves, have landscape, visual and cumulative impacts and harm nature conservation interests.

He added that E.ON UK “appear to think it is only necessary to offer up a pious little homily about climate change in order to then force all other land use planning considerations to kneel before this over-arching issue”.

The council also argued that the lack of looking at any alternative sites was reason for refusal.

Brian Ash QC, for the airport, expressed concerns that the wind farm will have serious consequences on the capacity of the air traffic control systems arriving on the preferred in-bound runway.

But E.ON UK said that they could limit the application to nine turbines until the impact on the airport had been ascertained, and said their proposal does not give rise to any unacceptable impacts.

Vincent Fraser, for E.ON, said the proposal was an important step in addressing climate change and energy security, and that the benefits far outweighed the adverse impacts.

He added that it would create 49 jobs and 25 per cent of the capital cost of £50 million would be spent locally.

Friends of Tween Bridge Wind Farm said that a trust set up to give the community between £63,250-£82,500 a year could make a significant positive difference to Thorne and Moorends, in particular to the sports facilities.

It added that research showed 80 per cent of people supported wind energy and that the trust could make a significant difference to people’s lives, more so than the wind farm.

But the Thorne and District Windfarm Advisory Group told the inquiry they would be presenting evidence to show that the C02 emission savings claimed by the developers have been inflated and how the size was too big for the local landscape and would change it in an unacceptable manner.

It added that the noise levels contravened guidelines and that it would be a threat to bird life.

Natural England’s Tim Kohler told the inquiry he objected on the grounds of potential effect on the adjacent Thorne and Hatfield Moors Special Protection Area, including the possible effect on the nightjar population, and on landscape grounds.

But with regard to hydrology he said they sought conditions to ensure there are no impacts on local ground waters.

The inquiry continues.


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The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial educational effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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