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MOD’s wind farm objection withdrawn

The Ministry of Defence has withdrawn its objection to wind farm plans for Baumber – after agreeing on new planning conditions with renewable energy company Enertrag UK.

The government department was due to form part of the opposition against proposals to site eight 125-metre-high turbines at Chase Farm, at a three-week public inquiry beginning at Minting Village Hall on October 5.

There were concerns over the effect the development would have on the radar system and air traffic control operations, at RAF Coningsby, Waddington and Cranwell.

But, under an agreement with the MOD, if the planning inspector says yes to the windfarm at next month’s inquiry, then Enertrag UK would not be able to start building until they had the ‘approved’ technology in place to mitigate these safety concerns.

A spokesman for the MOD supplied the conditions, which state: “No development shall commence unless and until the local planning authority has approved in writing a Radar Mitigation System proposed by the Company and agreed by the MOD.”

Enertrag would need to have this technology in place with in a certain amount of time, usually three years, if they receive planning permission.

East Lindsey District Council and Baumber Wind Farm Action Group (BWAG) are both still expected to object to the plans at the inquiry.

BWAG leader, Melvin Grosvenor, said the group had a ‘strong case’ on the grounds of landscape and cultural heritage.

However he was concerned about the MOD’s withdrawal, saying: “Even if the Inspector or ELDC said yes, we would be left in limbo for the life time of the permission of up to three more years, while Enertrag come up with the mitigation and it is tested and verified.

“We have already been dealing with Enertrag for three years, and it could end up being six years of planning blight.”

BWAG has raised around £20,000 so far towards the £30,000 needed to fund their representation at the inquiry.

Another fundraising hog roast is taking place at Minting Village Hall on Saturday, September 18, 7.30pm.

Plans are also in the pipeline for a sponsored walk around the proposed wind farm site on October 10 (further information: www.bwag.co.uk).

ELDC has said that local people may be able to share their views as part of the inquiry.

They said Enertrag also wants to erect a switch house; install a temporary storage compound; construct new access tracks; install a hard standing for a crane and underground cabling.

To view the documents relating to the planning application, visit www.planningportal.gov.uk and enter reference number S/011/1270/09.

Baumber Wind Farm 
- The Facts:

l MOD and Enertrag UK have agreed to enter into a Grampian Condition.

l A Grampian Condition is an agreement between the two parties that allows withdrawal of the objection on the basis of there being a possibility that the problem will be solved within an agreed timescale.

l For the wind farm to be built MOD will have to inform ELDC (within the agreed timescale) that the condition has been met and that they are satisfied the impact has been resolved.

l The condition is not linked to a specific technology, but recognises that there are technologies currently under development that have a chance of success.