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Relief as inspectors quash turbine plans

An action group is celebrating after three appeals to build large-scale wind turbines were thrown out by the Planning Inspectorate.

Protect Little Hoole Residents Group mobilised hundreds of people to object to plans for wind turbines at The Bungalow in Flag Lane, Penwortham, Greenfields in Parker Lane, Whitestake, and at Chestnut House Farm in Wham Lane, Little Hoole.

They were joined in their fight by South Ribble MP Lorraine Fullbrook.

All of the applications were dismissed by South Ribble Council’s planning committee, but the individual applicants appealed the decisions.

Now the refusals have been upheld by planning inspectors, on several grounds, including that all three would be likely to have an adverse effect on air traffic safety in the area.

Planning inspector Zoe Hill also commented that the 81ft turbine proposal for the Penwortham site had not been subject to a satisfactory noise assessment, and that the 122ft proposal for farmland in Whitestake would cause harm to the Green Belt.

Inspector George Baird said the Little Hoole turbine, which would measure a total 81ft would be an “inappropriate development which is by definition, harmful to the Green Belt and should not be approved except in very special circumstances.”

Action group spokesman Cathy Roper, said residents first acted because “the whole area would be blighted, for generations to come, by wind turbines which are totally inefficient.”

She pointed to research suggesting that the Penwortham turbine would only produce enough power to boil four kettles of water, under optimum conditions.

She added: “All three applicants were aware of the fact that the turbines would interfere with radars at Blackpool Airport and BAe Systems, but they were prepared to ignore serious risk factors, regardless of the consequences, in order to receive the huge subsidies which the Government is paying out to wind turbine owners.”

She added: “We are relieved that the Government Inspectors have concurred with and upheld the decision made by South Ribble and refused permission.

“Our battle is not over yet, as there are still further applications which were submitted to Planning, and temporarily withdrawn pending the outcome of the appeals, and United Utilities have been given permission to erect a mast to monitor wind speeds in this area.

“We are now looking forward to the continued protection from inappropriate wind turbine applications, with the publication by South Ribble Borough Council of a realistic Supplementary Planning Document on “Renewable and Low Carbon Energy”.