A Government inspector has approved controversial plans for nine massive turbines which opponents, including the artist David Hockney, claim will ruin “the most beautiful bay in Yorkshire”.
Inspector Ken Barton rejected hundreds of objections against the 425ft turbines on a site next to Fraisthorpe beach, near Bridlington.
Opponents say they fear the decision will “put wind in the sails” of other developers looking an area which has had the highest number of applications for wind farms in the past decade.
Just across the main A165, there are proposals for another wind farm of five turbines, 410ft high, as well as a six-turbine farm at Thornholme, five miles away.
Hockney, whose recent work celebrates the East Yorkshire landscape, wrote to the public inquiry into the proposals saying the farm “would deface the landscape and the seafront of Bridlington Bay”.
While Mr Barton accepted that there would be “substantial harm” in the immediate vicinity and it would “slightly harm” some wider views, he claimed it would not dominate the wider landscape.
He added: “Some local residents, but not the council, have expressed concerns that the proposal would adversely affect tourism in the area.
“However there is little evidence from other parts of the country that wind farms in areas with at least local landscape designations have led to an adverse impact on tourism.”
Opponents were heartened last year when Mrs Justice Lang upheld a decision to refuse an application to build four turbines in Hemsby, near Great Yarmouth. She ruled that the coalition Government’s renewable energy targets do not outweigh the value of the beauty of the countryside.
But Mr Barton said: “Notwithstanding comments by Mrs Justice Lang, I conclude the benefits, would in this case, outweigh any adverse impacts.”
The secretary of Bridlington Civic Society, Maureen Bell, said: “I feel very unhappy and depressed about it. If they are going to allow the other five across the road and those at Thornholme there will be this girdle round Bridlington. It does seem as though the Government itself is intransigent and they are not looking at alternatives.”
Campaigner David Hinde, from Bempton, criticised a “crass” report, which “gave no thought” to the people living only half-a-mile from the site, local residents, or the area’s many visitors. He also accused East Yorkshire MP Greg Knight of being ineffective.
Mr Knight was an objector and called last year for a moratorium on new wind turbines. But Mr Hinde said the MP had not attended the inquiry and had been a “silent knight” when he was needed.
He added: “This Government has abandoned its electorate – Energy Minister John Hayes promised “enough is enough”, but this is the reality of this Government’s uncaring cavalier attitude to the con of global warming if the Planning Inspectorate can continue to act in this way.”
Mr Knight claimed he was “bitterly disappointed” by the decision and would be writing to the inspector to say he had “misread” the evidence.
He said: “I find it bizarre to be attacked by someone who takes the same view as I do. I wrote setting out my objections. The inquiry was on a day when I had Parliamentary business elsewhere. There is no evidence that written evidence is less valid than oral evidence. I can understand his disappointment but his criticism is misplaced.”
He added: “Commitments entered into by one Government cannot immediately be abandoned by another. I tried to explain to Mr Hinde that we have a Coalition where some Ministers are more keen on wind energy than others; it is not as if we have one party in control.”
UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom said David Cameron was honouring his promise to make his Government the “greenest ever”, and said: “If you don’t want wind farms don’t vote Conservative.”
TCI Renewables said it was “delighted” by the decision.
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