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New rules will do nothing to stop Wolds wind farm

Wind farm objectors have been told new Government localism rules will do nothing to stop plans for a giant installation on the Yorkshire Wolds.

Ministers last month promised residents’ concerns and environmental considerations would be given more weight and applications were more likely to be rejected.

Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, wrote to all councils and the Planning Inspectorate, telling them of his intentions.

Campaigners thought the test case would be the planning inquiry this month on a proposal for six 110m turbines at Thornholme near picturesque Burton Agnes.

But specific guidance has not been produced so the decision will be taken under existing rules.

East Riding Council head of planning Pete Ashcroft said: “Along with all other planning authorities, we are awaiting with interest the Government’s new guidelines on wind farms.

“At the moment, we do not know when they will be published, nor what they will contain.

“In the meantime, it is business as usual, and all planning decisions made by this authority must be made in accord with prevailing policies and material considerations.

“The inquiry into Thornholme will be conducted in the same way.”

The revelation has stunned campaigners who are still reeling from a planning inspector’s decision in January that nine 130m turbines can be built in Fraisthorpe, overlooking Bridlington Bay.

That inquiry followed East Riding Council’s failure to determine the planning application within the required timescale.

The Thornholme inquiry follows an appeal by Wind Prospect to East Riding Council refusing the planning application.

Thornholme objector Susan Burt, of Burton Agnes, said: “My understanding was that Eric Pickles wrote to the Planning Inspectorate.

“We’ve been fighting this for years and when the Government announcement came out, we thought ‘great’. It did seem, at last, that the local people, who so far have been trampled over, will get their say.”

Following the Government announcement at the beginning of June, local Tory MPs were quick to welcome the changes.

East Yorkshire MP Greg Knight said: “Many local campaigns objecting to an inappropriately sited onshore wind farm have been crushed when, on a planning appeal, local opinion has been overridden by a planning inspector giving greater weight to national energy targets. The changes mean this is reversed and more weight has to be given to local views.”

Mr Knight also wrote to Mrs Burt and her husband, Garry, outlining what the Government announcement would mean and saying there is no need for any further East Riding wind farms.

The Thornholme planning inquiry is due to start on Tuesday, July 23, at Bridlington Town Hall.