The proposed Swift Wind Farm near Churchover and Cotesbach looks set to be refused planning permission for a second time – despite late claims it could cut energy bills and inject £1m into the local economy.
Planning officers have recommended councillors turn down the application by renewable energy developer RES on the grounds it could jeopardise air traffic safety.
An objection from National Air Traffic Services stated it “would have an unacceptable impact on the performance of its Pailton Air-Ground-Air Voice Communications systems which could in turn jeopardise aviation safety and efficiency”.
In his conclusion, council planning officer Nathan Lowde said the reason for refusal “cannot be overcome or mitigated against”.
Other objections to the scheme on the grounds of visual impact, pollution, environmental damage, spoiling views and noise pollution were not considered sufficient reasons to recommend refusal.
Over 170 individual objections were received, as well as opposition from the Campaign to Protect Rural England, English Heritage, Warwickshire Highways, The Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, the county biodiversity team, the British Horse Society, and from neighbouring county, district and parish councils.
Just 13 letters of support were sent to the council.
The previous plan for nine turbines on the land was also rejected in 2011.
Lorne Smith, co-ordinator of protest group ASWAR (Against Subsidised Windfarms Around Rugby), welcomed the planning officer’s ruling.
He said: “It is in the interests of particularly Churchover/Cotesbach residents to stop the ruining of a beautiful environmental amenity and important conservation village, while ASWAR has always campaigned against these intermittent wind turbines as an economic scam.”
RES said its turbines would generate enough renewable electricity to meet the annual needs of around 5,400 homes – 13 per cent of the borough’s households.
And a spokesman told us approving the scheme would result in an investment in the local economy in excess of £1m and lower electricity bills.
RES project manager Dan Patterson said: “As a home-grown and quick to build energy source costing around three pence a day on the average household bill to support, British wind is a vital investment in our energy mix.”
Members of ASWAR will hold a rally next Wednesday at 5pm on the steps of the town hall ahead of the planning committee’s meeting.
– PEOPLE would rather live near a wind farm than a fracking site, a new survey reveals.
The survey, commissioned by green energy company Ecotricity, suggests people in Britain favour onshore wind power over fracking by three to one.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has also been conducting its own Public Attitudes Tracking Survey since July 2012 – with the latest results showing that 64 per cent support onshore wind, with only 28 per cent of people supporting fracking.
There are wind farms all around Rugby in Swinford, Lilbourne and Yelvertoft while proposals are still on the table for a form of fracking on land around Marton and Princethorpe.
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