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Turbine plans backed

Two giant wind turbines are to be constructed on the outskirts of Lowestoft after a planning inspector gave the project the green light.

Peter Beasley ruled in favour of energy company SLP after it appealed against Waveney District Council’s failure to decide on the £4m plans.

It means the turbines, of a similar size to the Gulliver turbine in Lowestoft, can now be put up at Kessingland without a decision being taken by district councillors.

Opponents claimed the turbines would create a blot on the landscape, but in the Planning Inspectorate’s ruling, Mr Beasley says: “The development of renewable energy resources, including the erection of onshore wind turbines, is vital to facilitating the government’s commitments on both climate change and renewable energy.

“It is inevitable that, notwithstanding the acknowledged beauty and diverse nature of the countryside in general, there will be occasions when the broad principles embodied in the government’s commitments will need to take precedence over otherwise unyielding protection of the landscape.

“In my view, the extent and overall intensity of impact arising from the proposed wind turbines in this case, while significant in parts, is not so great or widespread as to cause me to set aside the government’s policy objectives…”

Members of the district council’s development control committee voted to defer the application last October, saying they wanted to go for a second site visit and wait for the publication of a new environmental assessment.

However, Lowestoft-based SLP exercised its right to launch a challenge, known as a non-determination appeal, because it believed the council was taking too long to come to a decision.

The turbines, which will be sited at the Africa Alive wildlife park and a site further to the west, next to the A12, will reach a height of 125m and provide power for nearly 4,000 homes.

SLP spokesman Kerry-Leigh Gauntt said: “We are pleased to announce that following an extensive public consultation campaign, including an exhibition held in 2006, planning permission has been granted… We now look forward to proceeding with the rest of the project.”

A spokesman for Waveney District Council said: “Although members were seeking more time for further environmental assessments to be prepared, the Secretary of State has made a decision that reflects national targets for renewable energy. There is no facility to appeal this decision.”

# Regular updates about the project will be posted on SLP’s website www.slp-energy.com.

Alasdair McGregor

Eastern Daily Press

8 May 2008