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Wildlife halts plans for wind power test  

Wildlife has temporarily put a stop to plans for wind masts in two rural villages.

Electricity company npower Renewables has been told to withdraw planning applications for wind measuring devices at Saxby and Horkstow over concern for birds.Npower must now carry out a bird survey, in order to determine whether the 70ft poles will present a threat to the creatures.

The company requested permission to put up the masts last year. The devices measure an area’s wind energy and help determine whether it would be a suitable site for wind turbines.

But despite the interruption to planning procedures, a spokeswoman for npower Renewables said the company would definitely resubmit the request.

“We have had to withdraw the application because the bird survey is likely to take more than eight weeks,” she said.

“That’s a problem because the council only has eight weeks to make the decision to grant permission, permission won’t be given without the survey and as that won’t be ready in time, the council asked us to withdraw.

“We’re not sure exactly how long it will take, but we will be resubmitting plans as soon as possible.”

The spokeswoman explained the request for the bird research did not necessarily mean there were any rare or endangered breeds at the site.

She said: “It’s a fairly standard thing, just to check the impact on any kind of birds which inhabit the area.”

Calls for the ornithology investigation were first made by environmental charity Natural England, which focuses on maintaining biodiversity in rural areas.

If, after the survey is complete, the council gives the go-ahead for the structures, Saxby and Horkstow could eventually become home to functioning wind turbines.

The wind measurers – known as anemometers – are only installed temporarily to help the company decide if a wind farm would be viable. A spokesman for the planning department confirmed npower would be allowed to try again once the bird information was collected.

“They were only asked to withdraw because of the bird survey,” he said.

North Lincolnshire Coun John Berry, ward member for Brigg and Wolds, said he had raised concerns about the issue before.

He said: “I think everything needs to be taken into consideration before a decision is made.

“One of the other things I have raised is what the people think.

Originally this did not come into the applicants’ thinking, it was primarily about wildlife and the conservation areas.

“I am sure it will go before the planning department again and people need to be vigilant of this.”


26 January 2008

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