New government planning guidance on wind farms which it was hoped would give fresh powers to local communities to fight developments has been labelled a ‘huge disappointment’.
In June East Lindsey District Council’s portfolio holder for economic cevelopment, Coun Craig Leyland, wrote to the Government seeking clarity on statements it had made regarding planning guidance it was to introduce. The Government claimed the soon-to-be published guidance would give greater power to communities to block wind farm developments.
ELDC called for a ‘full review’ into the eight-tubine wind farm at Gayton Le Marsh which was given the go ahead by a planning inspector, despite being rejected by the authority in East Lindsey.
But, responding to the document released today, Coun Leyland said: “Following recent statements implying that the voice of local people would hold more weight in the planning process when determining planning applications, such as those for wind farms, this latest guidance from the Government is a huge disappointment, not just for this council, but also many local people.
“We always knew the devil would be in the detail but this guidance flies in the face of Localism and doesn’t help local people one bit.
“It’s a sham that tries to give the illusion of local power in decision making while giving no such powers at all.
“The district council has in recent years spent over £500,000 fighting wind farm developments it believes to be inappropriate for the district, a view echoed by many local people.
“The most recent Planning Appeal decisions made by Government relating to wind turbines acknowledge that harm is caused to the landscape and the environment generally, but state in those cases that the need for renewable energy outweighs the harm caused.
“Nothing in this guidance gives us any confidence that such a position is likely to change.
“The cistrict council, as local planning authority, will continue to consider each planning application on its own merits, taking into account the impact on the local environment and communities.”