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Fears for countryside as offshore windfarm company plans onshore substation  

Credit:  Lincolnshire Echo, www.thisislincolnshire.co.uk 28 August 2010 ~~

Council bosses fear plans for a £3.6 billion wind farm off the Lincolnshire coast could harm onshore tourism, farming, traffic and nature.

Energy giant RWE npower renewable is developing a proposal to build up to 333 turbines, powering an estimated 898,000 homes.

Triton Knoll, one of the world’s biggest offshore wind farms, would be based 20.5 miles off the Mablethorpe coast.

But Lincolnshire County Council officials are concerned by the company’s plans for an onshore electricity substation.

Sites near Sloothby, Greet Steeping, Monksthorpe and Welton Le Marsh have been listed as potential locations for the substation which would require 40 acres for its equipment.

National Grid identified these sites as the most appropriate to allow Triton Knoll to connect into the network.

County council executive member for economic development Eddy Poll said: “While we certainly appreciate the environmental and economic benefits renewable energy projects can bring, they should be carried out in a way that minimises any impact on residents, the Lincolnshire landscape and the natural environment.

“At this stage, there has been no explanation from RWE justifying the need for a substation in East Lindsey when other alternatives are available offshore or by using existing substations to the north and south.

“We shall be considering the implications of these plans at the next meeting of our Environmental Scrutiny Committee.”

In council documents to be discussed next week, officers from both the county council and East Lindsey District Council list their initial concerns of the substation.

It states they relate to: “Landscape and visual impact in terms of harm to the rural character of the area; ecology and nature conservation such as the effects on protected species of animals, birds and plants; effect on cultural heritage; water resources and flood risk; soil contamination and potential loss of prime agricultural land.”

The impact on tourism in the area plus highways maintenance are also included.

As reported in the Echo, a consultation on the four sites involving residents and businesses is ongoing.

East Lindsey District Council member for Willoughby and Sloothby, Councillor Stephen Eyre, said there was a strong feeling against the substation plan from residents.

Mr Eyre said: “I think people acknowledge renewable energy is important, but they feel an industrial development in the heart of unspoilt countryside is an unnecessary imposition.”

Last month, Triton Knoll project manager Jacob Hain said: “We are keen to hear from anyone with knowledge about any of the four potential substation sites.

“We are making the questionnaires widely available – by sending copies out by post, making them available online and at East Lindsey Access Points – to ensure that local people have every opportunity to provide us with a response.”

Source:  Lincolnshire Echo, www.thisislincolnshire.co.uk 28 August 2010

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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