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Skipton MP Julian Smith urges public inquiry into wind farm project  

Credit:  By Lesley Tate, Senior Reporter | Craven Herald & Pioneer | 4 December 2012 | www.cravenherald.co.uk ~~

Skipton’s MP has called for a public inquiry to settle the second appeal into refused plans for a wind farm near Gargrave.

EnergieKontor’s appeal to the Planning Inspectorate – after Craven District Council refused permission for its three 100 metre (328ft) turbines at Brightenber Hill – is currently scheduled to be dealt with by written submissions.

But objectors are calling for a full blown public inquiry – the same as was held in January, 2010 when EnergieKontor appealed against the council’s refusal of a five turbine plan for the same site.

On that occasion, the inspector upheld the decision of the council and said that the turbines would blight the lives of those living in nearby Ash Tree Farm.

Now, objectors have been supported by MP Julian Smith, who has written to the chief executive of the Planning Inspectorate, Sir Michael Pitt, to press for a second public inquiry.

Mr Smith, who continues to lobby parliament for a reduction in subsidies paid to wind turbine companies, says in his letter to Sir Michael that there is great public interest and justice needs to be seen to be done.

He said: “This application has received significant local interest with over 200 individual letters of objection and over 1,000 signatures of objection via two petitions.

“The communities involved have been dealing with this issue since 2007 and have been caused considerable stress, anxiety and cost.

“It is vital that justice is seen to be done and this is why I am writing in full support of local residents who wish an inquiry to be held.”

Mr Smith added that there was dispute over an environmental impact study and he further believed the second appeal should be treated in the same way as the first.

In September, Craven District Council’s planning committee voted unanimously, with the exception of the chairman, to object to the scheme on the grounds of its impact on Ash Tree Farm.

A spokesman for the council said it would be up to the Inspectorate to decide how the appeal would be decided.

He added: “The written representation procedure would ordinarily be an appropriate procedure to deal with the council’s case. However, there is significant public interest in the application which raises wider issues than the council. It will be for the Inspectorate to decide whether the consideration of these wider issues needs to be considered by hearing evidence at a public inquiry or informal hearing..”

The spokesman added that in the meantime, the council would continue to publicise the appeal and continue under the written representations procedure, even though the Inspectorate might go down the inquiry or hearing route.

Source:  By Lesley Tate, Senior Reporter | Craven Herald & Pioneer | 4 December 2012 | www.cravenherald.co.uk

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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