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Villagers at heart of wind farm projects claim ‘hollow victory’

Campaigners are claiming a “hollow victory” after a planning inspector rejected one application for a wind farm at an East Riding village while approving another.

Two separate applications to build a total of 12 turbines at Spaldington, near Howden, were dismissed by East Riding Council in September last year, but both developers appealed and one of the projects has now been given the go-ahead.

Planning inspector George Baird considered both appeals and dismissed the larger seven-turbine scheme by Volkswind UK Ltd, which would have been built on land near Ivy House Farm, while backing plans for a five-turbine farm by Falck Renewables.

The company now has three years to build the farm at Spaldington Airfield, including an anemometry mast, access tracks, a control building and associated infrastructure.

The larger scheme was rejected because of its impact on the lives of residents living near by and its effect on views of Howden Minster.

The schemes – which could potentially have seen two wind farms just over a mile apart in a community with a population of just 150 – faced widespread opposition, including from the Haltemprice and Howden Tory MP David Davis and UKIP Euro-MP Godfrey Bloom, while residents set up the Spaldington Turbines Opposition Project (Stop) campaign.

Seven parish councils, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, and the East Yorkshire Barn Owl Survey and Conservation Group also lined up against the developers.

Hundreds of letters both in support and against the farms were also written, those in favour saying that the country needed cleaner renewable energy to tackle climate change and that they preferred wind energy to nuclear power.

The East Riding Council member for Howdenshire, Paul Robinson, was among the objectors and said members of the Stop campaign deserved praise for their partial success.

He said: “It’s a bit of a hollow victory. I can understand why some of the Spaldington residents would feel very sad and not looking forward to the future but it could have been a lot worse.

“The Stop campaign should take all the credit for this and be very proud of what they have done. They have managed to fight off a very large wind farm and drawn a line in the sand so other communities in the East Riding will not be faced with similar types of applications because they know very well a precedent has been set.”

Outlining his decision to allow the airfield scheme, Mr Baird said: “I have concluded that the proposal would not have an unacceptable impact on living conditions, landscape character, public visual amenity, ecology and the operation of Breighton Aerodrome.”

A spokesman for East Riding Council said: “The inspector has allowed the airfield scheme after concluding that the proposal would not have an unacceptable impact on visual amenity, ecology and the operation of the Breighton Airfield.

“Whilst there would be some harm to the setting of Howden Minster, he considered that the harm is outweighed by the significant weight to be attached to the need for renewable energy and the benefits of the scheme.

“Accordingly, he considered that the proposal (subject to planning conditions and the terms of the Unilateral Undertaking/Section 106 agreement) the scheme would meet national and development plan policy objectives. He allowed the appeal.

“In terms of the common scheme the inspector found that the proposal would result in unacceptable harm to the living conditions of nearby residents through being dominant and overbearing, creating noise disturbance to residents and some harm to the setting of Howden Minster.

“He considered that this overall harm could not be outweighed by the benefits of the scheme and planning conditions could not mitigate some of the harm.”