Protests against plans for a new wind farm in Lincolnshire have been dismissed by a planning inspector, who claimed that public concern was not as great as had been claimed.
In a move that will be keenly watched by other communities in Lincolnshire, the inspector overruled the original decision by East Lindsey District Council to refuse planning permission for eight turbines near Humberston, which the developer, ASC Renewables, said would generate enough power for 11,500 homes.
The government official said that it was “not clear that the landscape character and visual impacts would be significantly harmful” and that there was “no evidence of the likelihood of any material impact on tourism in the area”.
The report also questioned the strength of feeling against the proposal, adding that it was not as firm as suggested.
But local people have reacted with anger to the claim insisting the turbines of up to 115 metres in height at Bishopthorpe Farm, between Humberston Fitties and Tetney are not wanted.
Melvin Grosvenor, chairman of the Marsh Wind Farm Action group, said the decision was the wrong one and criticised an “atrocious assessment”.
“The full impact has not been properly assessed and we’re looking at our legal position regarding challenging the decision,” he said.
“If this goes ahead the impact on this area will be absolutely colossal.
“They want to fill this area with wind turbines. It will change the whole area for miles into an industrial wind farm landscape.”
And planning team leader Chris Panton, said: “[There] is the huge strength of feeling within the local community against the application. It goes without saying that we are very disappointed by the decision of the Secretary of State to allow the development to go ahead.”
ASC Renewables chairman Stephen Critchlow said: “This is a welcome confirmation of the Government’s support for sustainable, low carbon energy projects which will make a significant contribution towards meeting the UK’s legally binding 2020 renewable energy targets.
“Bishopthorpe has been developed in line with our ethos of sustainability without compromise. For wind, this means that only the best wind farm sites should be progressed.”
Last week, plans for five wind turbines were turned down by South Kesteven District Council in countryside near Grantham. The application by RWE Npower Renewables was for a wind farm with turbines of 126.5 metres on Temple Hill to power 7,000 homes per year.
They were rejected for reasons including the risk to local flight paths and the impact on the area’s heritage and health factors.