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Planning law currently makes it difficult to reject wind farm bids

Planning laws and guidelines must change if councils want to say no to future wind farms, according to South Holland’s chair of planning.

Coun Roger Gambba-Jones says South Holland District Council must be “very cautious” in refusing future developments without good reason – or risk costing the taxpayer tens of thousands of pounds.

He has responded to comments by Lincolnshire County Council leader Coun Martin Hill, who spoke out about the current number of wind farms in the county and the prospect of more on the way.

During the television interview, Coun Hill implied enough was enough when it came to Lincolnshire’s changing landscape.

Coun Gambba-Jones, who is chairman of South Holland’s planning committee, said: “I agree that we have to do what we can to protect open space and the landscape. The problem we have is they need to be saying that in London and saying it to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and those who are pushing these things down our throats.

“While we are all like-minded of the impact in Lincolnshire, I support what Martin Hill is saying but we need this to be put into action and put into policy changes.”

In the mean time, Coun Gambba-Jones says South Holland’s planning committee must follow the laws and guidelines set down by the Government.

Each application must also be decided on its own merit.

Coun Gambba-Jones said: “We have to be very cautious in this. There can be a severe impact on budgets going into an appeals process that costs tens of thousands of pounds to fight.

“Energy companies can pull the big guns out and we have to do the same because if it looks like we are not making the right level of effort, we could have costs awarded against us. We have to be very careful.”

South Holland District Council’s fight against seven wind turbines at Grange Farm, Tydd St Mary’s Marsh, in 2010 cost almost £70,000.