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Council stand firm on wind farm plan fee

The row surrounding controversial plans to build a wind farm on land at Hemswell Cliff near Gainsborough continues as the fee charged for the planning application comes under scrutiny again.

Earlier this year, local opposition groups questioned the amount that West Lindsey District Council charged RWE bosses for submitting their planning application for the 10 turbine wind farm on land 13km east of Gainsborough.

Opposition groups claim that RWE should have been charged the maximum application fee of £250,000 instead of £24,965.

However, amid rumours that WLDC had conceded that they charged the wrong fee for the Hemswell Wind Farm, they insist that this is not true and the correct coverage of land was considered. They say that Government advice on fees for wind farms states they should be calculated based on the area covered by the turbines themselves, the area swept by the blades,w here cable runs, the road ways and any other cabinets or buildings required for the development.

“It is clear that the fee should not be calculated based on the area of intervening land,” said a WLDC spokesman. “However the site edged red submitted with this application includes a wide area of land which is not affected by the development of the turbines themselves which, if taken as the site area and used to calculate the fee, would have resulted in the maximum amount of fee being payable – £250,000.”

He continued: “If this had been challenged at the time the application was registered, the applicant would have reduced the application area to correspond with the guidance set out in the fee regulations, they would not have paid £250,000.”

“Neither a request for a £250k fee nor a reduced site area would have resulted in the applicant abandoning their plans to develop a wind farm here. They would have simply produced a site edged in red which reflected their actual need with regard to this proposal. In this respect talk of a £250k fee is hypothetical in that it would never have been possible for us to collect this amount as the applicant would have reduce the area covered by the red edge to comply with Government guidance.”