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Mapping future of wind farms

New planning guidelines are being drawn up to help prevent the East Riding being dominated by wind farms in years to come.

The document sticks with existing policies, but will set out which parts of the county are more suitable for turbines and which are deemed too close to beauty spots and businesses.

The work is also aimed at encouraging developers to put forward alternative forms of renewable energy, to ensure the East Riding does not become reliant on wind technology alone.

Experts at East Riding Council have started producing the document, known as supplementary planning guidance, which will be in place by the end of the year.

It comes as the number of planning applications to build wind farms in the region looks set to remain high.

The Government wants the area to generate about 40 megawatts of power using wind by 2010, equivalent to about 20 new turbines.

However, by 2021, the Humber area will have to produce 350 megawatts from renewable sources, with the East Riding probably being required to generate a large share.

Councillor Stephen Parnaby, leader of East Riding Council, said: “It’s important we don’t become too reliant on turbines.”

He said the new planning guidelines were not designed to stop turbines from being built in the county, with the region still being expected to meet its energy target.

Cllr Parnaby said: “What these guidelines will do is give residents a clearer idea on what can and can’t be achieved.

“Although we are the planning authority, it does not mean we can come up with a magical policy that says no more wind turbines in the East Riding. That would mislead people.

“We have to conform to national and regional policies.”

Cllr Parnaby said each wind farm application would still be considered “on its merits”.

The guidelines will use existing local and national policies and are not intended to be a planning blueprint, to open up or close off areas of land to wind farm development.

Paul Bellotti, the council’s head of sustainable development, said: “It’s about looking at what is considered valuable to the East Riding, what is important and what we want to maintain for future generations.”

He said the impact on businesses, including tourism, would be taken into account and residents and organisations would have the chance to submit comments as part of consultation.

Last week, plans by energy firm Ridgewind to build 12 turbines, up to 328ft (100 metres) tall, on land north of Hall Farm at Routh, near Beverley, were turned down by councillors amid concerns over the impact on views across the town’s Westwood.

Dr Mike Jackson, spokesman for East Riding Alliance for Wind, said the new guidelines would “speed up the planning process”, as developers would know whether an area was suitable for wind turbines before submitting an application.


5 February 2007