- National Wind Watch: Wind Energy News - https://www.wind-watch.org/news -

Application to remove noise abatement clause on wind farm near Stockton to be debated

A controversial plan to build a small windfarm is to be debated by a council once again, despite being approved two years ago.

Permission to erect four 125m wind turbines at Lambs Hill, Stillington, between Stockton and Darlington was originally granted in December, 2012, despite protests from villagers.

However a condition that noise must be monitored and kept to a minimum was imposed and now the energy company, Banks Renewables, has applied to have that condition removed.

That application has led to a fresh wave of objections, including from MP for Stockton North, Alex Cunningham, who supported the original application but has now written to Stockton Borough Council to lodge his protest at the noise condition being removed.

In total 41 objections have been received including from Stillington and Whitton Parish council, Grindon Parish Council, Sadberge Parish Council and Bishopton Parish Council. The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England has also opposed the condition being removed. A 72-signature petition has also been submitted to the council.

Apart from noise impact the objectors made more general protests about visual impact, lack of research and information about noise levels, impact on wildlife and impact on house prices.

Stockton borough councillor Andrew Stephenson also objected. He said: “The regulations state it is up to Banks to monitor all the rules attached to the planning application. What Banks is attempting to do is pass this duty on to local residents and the council. This should not be considered.”

Banks Renewables has previously argued the change was a technical matter and stressed the noise issues would be managed and monitored. Stringent rules about noise emissions would remain.

Planning officers at Stockton council have recommended the authority agree to remove Condition 45, which refers to noise monitoring and control. However it was recommended that the authority did not simply rely upon general noise abatement law but impose a new condition based on the authority’s Environmental Management Plan which already has rules about noise.

A report to be considered by Stockton council’s planning committee on Wednesday, December 4 at 1.30pm in Stockton Central Library, said: “Whilst it is accepted that Condition 45 of the initial approval should not be retained, there remains an opportunity to secure greater control than simply relying upon statutory nuisance legislation.”