Plans for England’s fourth largest onshore wind farm have been given the green light by the Government.
Proposals by green energy company Ecotricity for up to 22 windmills at Heckington Fen in Lincolnshire have been approved by the Secretary of State despite being objected to by the local council.
Ecotricity said it spent four years researching, planning and consulting to gain approval for its largest wind park to date.
The new site will produce enough green electricity each year to power almost 40,000 homes and will have a generating capacity above 50MW, it is said.
The announcement comes despite local opposition, with a recent survey of Lincolnshire residents showing that 90 per cent backed the council’s tough stance on wind farms.
Councillor Martin Hill, Leader of Lincolnshire County Council, said: “The county council policy has always been that we are not saying no to every single wind farm, that would be unsustainable, but we are worried about the cumulative effect.”
While they were forced to accept the latest decision Lincolnshire has already fulfilled its requirements of providing wind energy, he said, adding: “We understand the need for renewable energy. However, we can’t ignore the impact wind farms are having on our beautiful and historic countryside for what appears to be very limited gain.”
The North Kesteven District Council’s planning committee turned down the proposed application last February even though they were recommended for approval.
Councillors objected to the plans on the grounds they would have a harmful effect on the historic fenland environment, and have cumulative impacts as there is another farm close by.
The ultimate decision was made by the Secretary of State because the project, which will increase England’s onshore wind capacity by more than three per cent, was considered of national importance.
Ecotricity founder Dale Vince welcomed today’s decision. He said: “Heckington Fen is a superb location for a wind park, probably the best we’ve ever seen.
“The planning department from North Kesteven District Council recommended the application for approval and we had no objections from any of the statutory consultee’s such as English Heritage, RSPB orNatural England.
“That’s quite rare and a sign of what a strong project this is Heck Fen will make a significant contribution to Britain’s energy supply, powering the equivalent of almost 40,000 homes for the next 25 years and will reduce our dependence on imported fossil fuels, which are the primary source of Britain’s carbon emissions.”
Heckington Fen Wind Park will generate up to 66MW of clean energy, saving almost 60,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere each year, it is claimed.
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