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Public inquiry on turbines?

Campaigners battling to stop wind turbines being sited 
between two nature reserves are celebrating news that the plan may go to a public inquiry.

Stop West Pinchbeck Wind Farm has mounted a fierce fight against Wind Ventures Ltd’s bid to put nine 126m tip-height turbines on Fen Farm, South Fen, also known as The Delph, at West Pinchbeck.

The group enlisted the help of South Holland and The Deepings MP John Hayes, who wrote to Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, asking him to call in the application.

The national planning casework unit in Mr Pickles’ department is now watching the plan’s progress – and it may be called in if it is recommended for approval by South Holland District Council’s planning officers.

Mr Hayes told the Spalding Guardian: “This is a direct result of my letter to the Secretary of State.

“We really can’t have any more of these monstrous turbines in the open fenland countryside damaging the environment and reducing people’s wellbeing by destroying the character of the place in which they live. Hopefully this will be a signal to other aspirant wind turbine developers that they are not welcome in South Holland.”

The Tories will end subsidies for onshore wind if re-elected next year and the MP says “that will effectively kill the onshore wind industry”.

The MP says new evidence shows turbines kill far more birds than previously thought.

The Stop West Pinchbeck Wind Farm group hired its own expert, Dr Tim Reed, who found “major flaws” in the way the turbine company collected information on bird surveys – and had “patched up a poor study with data from a different season”.

Group chairman Tony Fear said campaigners are “delighted” about the Secretary of State’s intervention and the likelihood of a public inquiry.

He said: “We welcome the opportunity to tell the inquiry that the expert and independent analysis of Dr Tim Reed, the ecology expert commissioned by the local community, has been completely ignored.”

Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, which runs one of the nature reserves, is objecting to the turbines but campaigners have criticised Natural England for withdrawing its objection when it actually devised the standard for collecting bird survey data.