Controversial plans to build a ten turbine wind farm on land in Hemswell Cliff have caused another row after the council were accused of causing a ‘conflict of interests’.
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.
Now, the revelation that West Lindsey District Council have employed a consultant from North East Lincs Council has caused concern – as they outsource such work to a firm who have recently completed multi-million pound wind farm work with RWE.
The Hemswell 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.
North Lincolnshire County Council are in a multi-million pound partnership with engineering services firm Balfour Beatty who work alongside the council in the planning and delivery of physical regeneration, property and technical services. This has caused controversy because Balfour Beatty has recently carried out work with RWE nPower – incluiding the electrical infrastructure contract for the extension of their renewables Novar Two onshore wind farm in Ross-shire, Scotland.
Peter Baldwin is from the anti-turbines campaign group called No To Local Wind Farms.
“In effect the person West Lindsey District Council have engaged works for Balfour Beatty,” said Peter. “A number of us do not like this at all and are concerned a massive conflict of interests is going on here.”
“We have contacted our elected officials who are meeting with WLDC to discuss our concerns and the finer details – so we await the results of that with baited breath.”
A spokesman from West Lindsey District Council denied the allegations and said that everything had been well considered.
“West Lindsey District Council has employed an experienced senior planning officer from North East Lincs Council to act as case officer for the wind farm application at Hemswell Cliff,” he said.
“This officer is employed by West Lindsey District Council and will operate under the Councils policies and procedures and will also be supervised by the Councils staff.”
“This officer is also a chartered member of the Royal Town Planning Institute and is therefore bound by a professional code of conduct with their behaviour and work.”
He continued: “The council has considered any potential conflict of interest and are satisfied that there is no conflict and that the application process will be managed in a balanced and fair manner.”
“The work of the officer will be checked to ensure that it is of the highest quality and that the considerations at issue in this application are addressed properly. “
The spokesman added: “Ultimately the decision on this application will be made by members of the planning committee at a special single item meeting.”
A spokesman from Balfour Beatty said: “This is not something we can comment on at the moment.”
The planning application is available to view on the WLDC website at www.west-lindsey.gov.uk/residents/planning-and-building/view-applications-decisions-and-appeals/
For more detail on the proposals go to www.npower-renewables.com/hemswellcliff
You can have your say and let WLDC know what you think on the plans by emailing email@example.com or visiting www.west-lindsey.gov.uk/planning/
You can also write to Guildhall, Marshall’s Yard, Gainsborough, DN21 2NA.
Residents are advised to quote application reference number 128940 when submitting comments.
All comments must be made by 13th October.
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