Furious villagers have come together to voice their opposition to the proposed 10 turbine wind farm at Hemswell Cliff.
Back in July, RWE Npower Renewables submitted the application to build the farm on land 13km east of Gainsborough after months of suitability and consultation. The wind farm would stand up to 126.5m tall and would be capable of generating up to 25 megawatts of electricity – enough to meet the average annual consumption of 11,600 homes.
However, many residents in surrounding villages are up in arms about the proposals. Villages of the Cliff Against Turbines (or VOCAT) consists of residents from Hemswell Cliff, Bishop Norton, Snitterby, Willoughton, Blyborough, Caenby, Normanby by Spital and Spital in the Street.
VOCAT chairman Mr Ernest Charles Coleman said that the planned wind farm had ‘no redeeming features’.
“We will not stand for this,” he said.
“They’re going to ruin this beautiful countryside. To the west is the flat Trent Valley, whilst to the east there’s the Ancholme Valley which slopes gently down to the Lincolnshore Wolds – a site of outstanding natural beauty.”
“These things would be much taller than Lincoln Cathedral and be visible from miles around – the turbines will destroy this wonderful view.”
Ernest, a 69-year-old retired naval officer from Bishop Norton who now writes books on history and polar exploration said that the villagers’ issues were about much more than aesthetics.
“They just don’t work – which is what makes it especially irritating,” he said.
“They are going to produce more CO2 than they are supposed to save and contribute to global warming. The very idea that we can get a constant source of energy from something that depends on the wind is ludicrous.”
Other factors troubling VOCAT include the historical and archaelogical significance of the area, as well the impact that the turbines will have on birds and low-flying planes and the noise that they produce.
“We’re very upset about how this is going ahead – it just isn’t democratic. We are the mugs getting stiffed with these things against our will.”
Ernest went on: “We like the idea of renewable energy, we want to leave the world a better place for our grandchildren – but this just doesn’t work. The planning application has gone in and we will present the committee with a petition which states why this is all wrong.”
He added: “People need to realise that this is their countryside and their environment, so please make your voices heard.”
Neil Parnell, Developer at RWE npower renewables responded: “Designing a wind farm that is suitable for the area and environment has been at the forefront of our minds as we have been developing the proposed Hemswell Cliff wind farm. As an open and honest developer, we have engaged with the local community and stakeholders throughout to provide updates and to give the opportunity to provide feedback. This feedback has helped shape the final wind farm design.”
He continued: “A recent report found that onshore wind supported 8,600 jobs and was worth £548 million to the UK economy at a local, regional and national level in 2011
“Of this figure 1,100 jobs were created at the Local Authority level, worth £84 million.”
RWE also argue that wind farms generate electricity approximately 80 per cent of the time and modern turbines are ‘highly efficient at converting wind into electricity’.
Neil went on: “The life cycle of a modern turbine indicates that it would have to generate electricity less than 12 months out of its intended life span, up to 25 years, before it produces enough energy to repay that used to manufacture it.”
“We have consulted with the MoD and RAF and have designed the proposed Hemswell Cliff Wind Farm in a way that will meet requirements and we have submitted comprehensive assessments looking at the historical and archaeological aspects as well as a detailed wildlife assessment. These assessments will be considered by WLDC before they make their decision.”
l VOCAT’s next meeting will be at Bishop Norton Village Hall on 20th September at 7pm.