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Wind farm ‘ducks’ flawed wildlife report  

Credit:  15 April 2014 | www.spaldingtoday.co.uk ~~

Plans for nine 126m high wind turbines at The Delph, West Pinchbeck, are still live almost a year after council bosses asked a company to withdraw them because of a “flawed” ecological study.

The protest group, Stop West Pinchbeck Wind Farm, hired an expert, Dr Timothy Read, who found “major flaws” in the way Wind Ventures collected its data for the site, which is visited by a protected species, whooper swans, and sandwiched between two nature reserves.

Council planning development manager Richard Fidler wrote to the company last year asking it to withdraw the plans or be served with a legal notice requiring proper ecological data.

A council spokesman confirmed this week the planning application was not withdrawn, but didn’t say why or answer our question on whether the legal notice was ever served.

She said: “Following a meeting with Natural England last September further bird surveys were undertaken and the updated ornithological report was recently submitted to the council to consider.”

Tony Fear, from Stop West Pinchbeck Wind Farm, said accepting an ecology report that is sub-standard “would appear to be an untenable position”.

He said: “The standards do not allow you to patch up a poor study with data from a different season so continuing to consider the planning application without redoing the study seems questionable.”

Sue Blake, from West Pinchbeck, took photographs in December of at least 80 swans living on the application site, including whooper swans which are on the RSPB’s Amber List.

The wild bird charity says: “The estuaries and wetlands it visits on migration and for winter roosts need protection.”

There’s no date yet for the application going to South Holland’s planning committee.

Source:  15 April 2014 | www.spaldingtoday.co.uk

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