Controversial plans to build two windfarms close to an East Riding village have been rejected.
Dozens of residents packed a meeting in Beverley to hear the East Riding Council’s planning committee throw out the proposals for a total of 12 turbines, standing more than 400ft tall to the tip of the blade, in two developments just over a mile apart at Spaldington.
Feelings had been running high in the days leading up to the meeting, with councillors receiving a “deluge” of paperwork from both those against and those for the proposal.
Coun Margaret Chapman complained that she had had a telephone call threatening her that if she voted for the application she would be looking over her shoulder for the rest of her life.
The decision – against officers’ recommendations – may spark an appeal by the developers Falck Renewables Plc who were behind the five-turbine scheme at Spaldington Airfield and Volkswind (UK), developers of the seven-turbine scheme at Ivy House Farm.
In the past windfarm developers have prevailed at appeals held by Government inspectors.
However councillors said they sympathised with those who would be most affected by the visual impact, noise and shadow flicker, having heard a moving first-hand account from a resident living close to a wind farm at Mablethorpe. Some 33 households would be just over half a mile from a turbine belonging to the Spaldington Airfield wind farm.
Coun Bob Tress said he did not want to set a new precedent: “We are treading new ground on closeness. There has to be a marker – how close can you go?
“If this goes through the next will be closer, because the developer will want to push the bounds further.”
The East Riding has borne the brunt of windfarm applications in Yorkshire, South Holderness and the flat plains of Howdenshire being particularly affected.
Within 13 miles of Spaldington there are 22 turbines already up and running, with more than 100 more in the pipeline.
Operators of Breighton Aerodrome said the runway would be less than two miles from the turbines, perilously close in their opinion.
Senior airline captain Rod Burgess told the meeting aviators did not accept a consultant’s view that just a small adjustment would keep people flying in and out safely.
He said he was not scaremongering but it was “a case of when” the turbines would be a cause of a fatal aircraft accident, killing the crew on board and possibly people on the ground.
The application sparked hundreds of letters both in support and against the Spaldington Airfield scheme. Those in favour said the country needed cleaner renewable energy to tackle climate change, and said wind energy was preferable to nuclear – and that turbines were no less attractive than pylons.
Supporter John Everett, from yes2wind, which has been campaigning to raise support for the Spaldington Airfield scheme, urged councillors “to be bold” saying the country faced the huge “almost overwhelming” challenge of producing 14 gigawatts of onshore and offshore wind energy.
Planners had also backed the proposals saying although the localised impacts of the development would be “significant” that the “essential character of the landscape would not be unacceptably harmed” because the wind farms only have a lifespan of 25 years.
However opponents included Haltemprice and Howden MP David Davis, Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire Euro-MP Godfrey Bloom and seven parish councils. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds was another opponent as was the East Yorkshire Barn Owl Survey and Conservation Group.
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