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Energy firm behind rejected wind farm plan in Lincolnshire still hoping for approval

Disappointment has been expressed by an energy company which had its plans to build a windfarm in Heckington turned down.

But despite the setback, applicant Ecotricity is hoping the final decision, which will now be made by the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, will be in its favour.

North Kesteven District Council’s planning committee turned down the proposed 22 turbine application at east Heckington even though it was recommended for approval.

Councillors objected to the plans, for land at Six Hundred Drove, on the grounds of the harmful effects the development would cause to the historical fenland environment and the cumulative impacts arising from the existing Bicker windfarm.

But the ultimate decision will be made by the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change because the project is considered of national importance and will increase England’s onshore wind capacity by more than three per cent.

The district council’s decision means that a public inquiry is possible, but Ecotricity believes it will be a waste of public money.

Company founder Dale Vince said: “It’s a shame that the council has objected to this proposal against the advice of their own planning department.

“It has been through several years of rigorous analysis and has come out with a clean bill of health.

“It’s completely in line with Government policy and has none of the technical problems that wind projects sometimes come up against such as radar, airport or noise issues. It’s passed all the technical hurdles that prove it will be a good neighbour.

“This one project will increase England’s onshore wind capacity by 3 per cent and we are confident the Minister will find in our favour and we will start breaking ground in 2013.”

Almost 200 local people attended three public exhibitions in June last year at East Heckington, Swineshead and South Kyme to discuss the plans, where staff from Ecotricity discussed details of the proposal and answered questions.

Sleaford MP Stephen Phillips has also spoken out on the proposed windfarm.

He said: “Onshore and offshore wind, properly sited, should continue to be part of the solution to the energy security and low carbon challenges we face.

“Wind also offers us the opportunity to make use of our considerable renewable resources, creating UK jobs and skills in an industry which we continue to lead.

“Whether you are a believer or a sceptic when it comes to climate change, perhaps we can all agree that utilising the abundant wind resources available in the UK, such as the wind, is beneficial not just to reduce emissions, but to ensure energy security when fossil fuel supplies inevitably become scarcer.

“By diversifying the nation’s energy mix, we will move towards a cleaner, more sustainable energy portfolio with greater security of supply.”

The project also drew support from Greenpeace, which said: “Lincolnshire has a great wind energy resource – it’s like sitting on an oil field, but without any of the dirt, drilling, pollution and traffic.”