By Angus Young | Hull Daily Mail | August 16, 2014 | www.hulldailymail.co.uk
Villagers in Little Weighton are celebrating after plans for a wind turbine on nearby farmland were rejected by councillors.
They claimed the turbine earmarked for a site on land off Common Road, between the village and nearby Riplingham Grange, would have created a blot on the landscape.
But farmer John Clappison said the decision by East Riding Council’s planning committee could hit his business.
He grows Brussels sprouts in the area and had hoped to use energy generated from the turbine to power a new cold store.
His application for the 67.8m-high turbine attracted an 81-name petition against the development, along with 12 individual letters of objection.
Mrs Ursula Clark, who spoke on behalf of the objectors at this week’s planning meeting, said: “This proposal would bring a 220ft industrial- scale turbine with a blade diameter of 177ft into a designated landscape of high sensitivity, openness and attractiveness.
“It would be the same height as York Minster, but moving.
“It would be the catalyst for unacceptable change at the site, unacceptable harm to the locality, to the significance of the setting of multiple heritage assets and to the residential amenity of all the residents of Little Weighton and for what? A modest contribution to national renewable energy targets.
“The modest benefits of the proposal are insufficient to outweigh the harm.”
Mrs Clark received a round of applause from people in the public gallery after her speech and they applauded again when councillors voted 7-2 to refuse the application.
In doing so, the committee rejected their own officers’ recommendation for approval.
Speaking against the scheme, Councillor Tony Galbraith said the turbine would conflict with the surrounding open countryside and, in particular, the setting of St Peter’s Church in nearby Rowley, where 20 families famously followed their rector Ezekiel Rogers to become some of the first American colonists in 1638.
As a result, Cllr Galbraith said the church had become a popular destination for American tourists researching their family roots in recent years.
“I believe the potential damage to the landscape and the local heritage is significant,” he said.
“There will be much more traffic and I do not believe the benefits outweigh the adverse impact of having a turbine here.”
Councillor Phil Davison said: “For me, it will dominate a relatively unspoilt landscape.
“It would be even more obvious if the hedgerows weren’t so high, but I do feel this is the wrong place for something like this.”
Councillor Charles Bayram was the only committee member to speak in favour of the proposal.
He said: “I know the area well because I used to farm near there.
“It’s a quiet area but not a sensitive one, this would only be seen from a couple of roads.”
Mr Clappison said installing the turbine was a way of making his business more sustainable in the long-term.
Pledging to operate just one turbine within a proposed 5km buffer zone, he said energy generated from it would have helped run a new cold store complex.
“We are operating in a very competitive and tough vegetable market.
“For us, sprouts are for life, not just Christmas.”
He said his business provided employment in the area and would now face having to rethink its plans.
Both Birds Eye and Aldi had supported the application, saying it offered a more sustainable way to produce Brussels sprouts.
Farmer’s climate change fears
Farmer John Clappison said he was disappointed by the committee’s decision.
“Over the past 15 years there has been a lot of pressure on the farming industry to improve sustainability and this was one way of doing that,” he said.
“As a farming business, we have to keep our customers happy, keep the local community happy, look after the country- side, provide local jobs and address climate change.
“In 2007, we were flooded and in 2010, we lost half our crops through severe frost.
“I believe those events were part of climate change.
“We have currently got a carbon footprint of 713 tonnes and this was an attempt to reduce that.
“It’s disappointing because two turbines in two nearby parishes are going up as we speak.”
URL to article: https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2014/08/16/brussels-sprouts-wind-turbine-beaten-by-little-weighton-villagers/