The governments rural watchdog has added its name to objectors against a proposed wind farm close to two large nature reserves.
Natural England says the 10-turbine development proposed at Sixpenny Farm would have a “permanent and irreversible” impact on the area, which is visited by “significant” numbers of protected birds, including marsh harriers and golden plover.
The wind farm, between Gilberdyke and Howden, is close to both the Humber Estuary Site of Special Scientific Interest and the Humber Estuary Special Protection Area and Ramsar site, as well as the Derwent Ings SSSI and Derwent Valley SPA.
A letter to planners at East Riding Council criticises the developers Your Energy for saying the 125m high (from base to tip of blade) turbines will be seen as “simple sculptural elements” which will blend in “successfully” with the landscape, saying they are “clearly subjective, value judgments and should not be presented as fact”.
Campaigners are asking Your Energy to honour a previous promise not to construct the wind farm without Natural England’s support.
A spokesman said: “We support renewable energy but have been campaigning against the wind turbines on the grounds that this is not a suitable location for such an industrial sized wind farm. Of particular concern is the close proximity to two large and important Nature Reserves which house a number of rare and protected species regularly seen on the proposed site. We urge more local residents in Howdenshire to help protect their local environment.”
A spokeswoman for Your Energy said it was not unusual for Natural England to be requesting more information as it was a statutory consultee.
She added: “We would not want to build a wind farm in a site where it is not ecologically acceptable.”
Researchers who carried out studies on behalf of the developer found 67 species during a breeding survey, including 10 on the red list of “globally threatened” species.
They estimated that the risk of fatal collision with the turbines was very low in most species studied.
However between 12 and 38 golden plovers (against an annual background mortality of more than 8,000 birds) could be killed every year in collisions.
The report states: “This change would represent an insignificant adverse impact on a designated interest feature.” It also predicts a small number of fatalities amongst grey heron and curlew were also found to be at risk.
By Alexandra Wood
23 January 2008
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