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‘Robust landscape can take turbines’: Controversial wind farm set to get nod  

Credit:  www.thisishullandeastriding.co.uk 20 September 2010 ~~

Plans for controversial wind turbines twice the height of Beverley Minster look set to be given the green light in the Yorkshire Wolds.

Cornwall Light and Power’s proposal to build five 100-metre-high (328ft) turbines on land east of Sancton Hill, near Market Weighton, was turned down in March last year.

The main reason was concern about their visual impact.

But since then permission for another previously-rejected development, for six similar-sized turbines at neighbouring Sober Hill, has been granted by central government on appeal.

The Sancton Hill application is back on the agenda at Thursday’s East Riding Council planning meeting.

Cornwall says the turbines would create enough electricity to power 5,700 East Riding homes.

This time planning officers are recommending that councillors should authorise East Riding Director of Planning and Economic Regeneration Alan Menzies to grant planning permission.

The main conditions attached relate to traffic and landscaping matters, as well as an agreement by the company to set up a Local Community Fund to deliver facilities and initiatives.

In his report to the committee, Mr Menzies states that the reasons for refusing the original application have been “sufficiently overcome”.

In March last year, Mr Menzies told councillors: “The introduction of wind turbines in the proposed locations would be highly prominent and visible from a significant area of the East Riding.”

But in his report to this week’s meeting, he says that the landscape is “sufficiently robust” to accommodate the development.

Mr Menzies adds: “Within the immediate vicinity of the site a wind farm landscape would arise.

“Beyond this, however, the landscape would be read as one which accommodates the wind farm – the wider local landscape would not be transformed by the development and its underlying character would not be unduly compromised.”

Opposition to the proposal comes from community group Sancton Windfarm Action Team.

One of its members, Graham Ward, 72, from Beverley Lane, Sancton, said: “We’re opposed to the plan, but when the Sober Hill site went to appeal the Minister said the turbines were in the national interest and that the Wolds were not a designated protected site.”

His neighbour Make Padgett, 58, said: “I agree with the parish council, which has lodged an objection.

“But we do feel a little bit powerless to stop it.”

Mr Padgett, a self-employed training provider, added: “If it did get passed next week I have written in with a suggestion about how materials should be delivered to the site.

“They should build a dedicated road to the wind farm from the A1079 to minimise disruption.”

Backing the wind farm application will be East Riding Alliance for Climate Action, which was critical of the initial decision to reject the plans, saying: “For the council to refuse wind farms on visual grounds is hopelessly short-sighted.”

And the RSPB has also called for a large increase in the number of onshore wind farms. The charity sees climate change as a bigger threat.

When West Coast Energy won its appeal in relation to the Sober Hill site, a spokesperson for Communities and Local Government said: “The Secretary of State concludes that the factors which weigh in favour of the proposed development outweigh its shortcomings.

“He therefore does not consider that there are any material considerations of sufficient weight to justify refusing planning permission.”

The UK is committed to generating 15 per cent of energy from green sources like wind and solar by 2020. But at the moment only three per cent of energy comes from renewables.

Lord Adair Turner, Chairman of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), says the UK will miss the target unless there is massive investment in wind, wave and solar.

Source:  www.thisishullandeastriding.co.uk 20 September 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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