East Riding Council is today expected to back a call to lobby the Government for new guidelines limiting the distance between wind farms and residential properties.
Howdenshire Conservative councillor Paul Robinson says he has his party’s backing for a motion going before the authority today which seeks formal restrictions on the location of wind farms.
“There’s no legislation or guidance on the distance and that’s why it needs looking at,” he said.
“The only determining factor is noise, and that needs looking at as well because the guidelines date from 1997 when the turbines were smaller.”
The East Riding has already met its renewable energy targets for the next 11 years but could soon be home to more than 20 wind farms, which opponents claim are spoiling the landscape.
A total of four wind farms are already operational, nine are under construction, two are subject of an appeal to the Government after being refused planning permission by the council, and three more are pending.
Coun Robinson said: “The East Riding is already carrying more than its fair share of the country’s EU and national renewable energy targets in those applications that have been approved.
“The capacity of the East Riding to accept more wind farms is perhaps open to question, but what is clear is that particular areas will be saturated, and when all those already approved are built they would be in effect wind farm landscapes.
“If one looks at the wind farms that have been approved, either by the planning committee or the planning inspector, it is clear that the physical size of the turbines is generally increasing, but worryingly we are seeing more turbines planned to be built ever closer to properties.
“An adequate separation distance between wind turbines and properties is important for a number of reasons, with visual impact and noise being the main concerns.”
He added: “No one is exactly sure what the Government’s Localism Bill will contain when it comes to local decision-making regarding planning applications. But what is certain, the council will need a policy on renewable energy that is fit for purpose.
“This is not about preventing wind farms, it is about making sure turbines are located in areas that cause least problems for residents.
“It is about stopping our East Riding villages and hamlets being swamped by huge wind turbines being built unacceptably close.”
Last month, councillors approved plans for a second wind farm near the Wolds Way, despite objections from campaigners.
The application by Cornwall Light and Power to erect five turbines near Sancton was refused last March, but a revised version was passed by the council’s planning committee.
The approval came after a similar development of an adjacent six-turbine wind farm was given planning permission on appeal.
Both Sanction and Newbald parish councils objected to the “overpowering and unsightly” combination of the two schemes, which will be a kilometre – just over half a mile – from Sancton.
Natural England said the five-turbine farm would spoil the view from the Wolds Way, the national long-distance walking trail that runs from Hessle, along the Wolds tops and valleys to Filey Brigg.
Last year, Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart said the East Riding could not support any more wind farms.
He said: “There need to be policies to ensure wind farms are a minimum distance apart so areas, like Holderness, can’t be overwhelmed.”
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