Campaigners are celebrating after plans to build five giant wind turbines between Bilsthorpe and Eakring were refused by councillors on Tuesday afternoon.
Newark & Sherwood District Council’s Planning Committee had been expected to approve plans for the 100m-high turbines at two locations –– the former Bilsthorpe Colliery site and Stonish Hill, near Eakring.
But they turned down developers Harworth Power, which is a subsidiary of UK Coal, and Eakring Farming’s plans amid concerns over the impact the scheme would have on the environment –– particularly nearby Sherwood Forest and Rufford country parks.
The decision came after a passionate speech against the plans by Bilsthorpe parish councillor Mike Butler.
“Bilsthorpe has already done more than its fair share for Nottinghamshire by producing coal and as thanks for that we got a landfill,” he said.
“Now they have dumped this planning application on us just as we are trying to improve the appearance of the village – we just do not deserve it.
“The government says wind farms are for the greater good and that there is a need for renewable energy but they do not make decisions about where they go – they pass that responsibility on to you.
“This is an opportunity for you to stand up for the people you represent and say that this is not the way to do business.
“The application is completely opportunistic and it is the wrong area for a wind farm.”
And his comments were backed by district councillor Roger Blaney, who said the site was unsuitable for a wind farm.
He said: “We have approved wind farms before but I agree with Coun Butler that we should holt applications for sites that are not suitable.”
“It’s land that they could build on rather than land that they should build on.”
“The site is unsuitable and the impact on the character and appearance of Bilsthorpe and Eakring conservation
areas would be huge which is why we should refuse the application.”
The refusal was met with cheers by members of the Eakring Turbine Action Group (ETAG) and Bilsthorpe Residents Against Turbines (BRATS), who had gathered outside Kelham Hall yesterday afternoon.
They had been fighting against the plans from the outset, which they said would ruin the quality of life in the two villages.
Coun Blaney paid tribute to the protesters for the way they had conducted their campaign.
“I would like to congratulate the campaigners for making us aware of their concerns and the issues surrounding the application,” he said.
It is the second time the developers have been defeated in their bid to build a wind farm in the area.
In November 2006, they were rejected because of fears from the Ministry of Defence that the turbines would interfere with their radar.
By Rachel Parry
[visit the Mansfield Chad website for photos and video]
13 February 2008
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