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Wind turbines ‘to give £26m injection to economy’

Developers have claimed a proposed 10-turbine wind farm scheme would bring a £26 million boost to the local economy, just days before the scheme’s fate will be decided.

The planned Saxby Wold development, near Horkstow, has been refused planning permission twice by North Lincolnshire Council planning committee.

Opponents locally say the turbines – which could be as high as 400ft – would be a blot on the landscape.

Yet the developers say the wind farm could produce enough clean energy to power between 9,700 and 12,000 homes each year.

Now its fate will be decided by a public inquiry beginning next Wednesday at Elsham Hall after an appeal was lodged in August by those behind the scheme.

As well as a major long-term multi-million-pound cash injection, developer RWE npower renewables says the wind farm would also bring about a number of job opportunities that it is hoping local businesses could capitalise on.

Nicola Bell, planning specialist at the firm, said: “We want local businesses with the appropriate skills to capitalise on the opportunities available in the sector and we would be interested to hear from any local businesses who wish to express their interest in working with us.”

The firm said the types of contract likely to be offered during construction include contracts for civil, mechanical and electrical engineering, as well as contracts for supplying materials.

Planning permission was first turned down in December 2010 and then again in February 2012.

Plans at that time were for an 18-turbine wind farm but this has since been reduced to 10 after plans were approved for a nearby development for a 500-cow dairy farm including two residential properties.

That application was submitted by the owners of Hall Farm, Bonby, and RWE said the close proximity to the homes meant reducing turbine numbers.

The project has been opposed by the Saxby Wold Against Turbines (SWAT) group.

A statement on its website ahead of the public inquiry said: “Despite the forced reduction to 10 turbines, North Lincolnshire Council planners recently reaffirmed their objections to the wind farm and have resolved to fight the developer all the way.

“SWAT has been very busy in the background, putting together our own submissions for the inquiry and ensuring that no stone is left unturned.

“Members of the public are welcome to attend the inquiry at any time and it’s vital that we all make the effort, even if it’s just for the first day.”

Rob Waltham, who represents Brigg and Wolds on North Lincolnshire Council, said: “The planning committee has now refused this application on two occasions. The council has engaged a barrister and is working closely with the community to defend the committee’s decision.”