Anti-wind farm campaigners have launched a fresh bid to overturn a government decision to back a wind farm at Bishopthorpe, near Tetney.
The move comes as new government guidelines will give local residents “the final say” over planning decisions for new onshore wind farms.
Melvyn Grosvenor, chairman of the Marsh Wind Farm Action Group (MWAG) called the move “a step in the right direction”, adding it endorsed their plan to keep fighting.
“MWAG has been saying for some time local communities should be heard if the government’s localism agenda is to mean anything. This is why we are still protesting against the outrageous decision to approve the Bishopthorpe wind farm on appeal,” he said.
The decision, made in late March by former government minister Eric Pickles, was “much to our absolute shock,” Mr Grosvenor continued, saying the plan for eight turbines would have an “overwhelming impact” on the site.
“We are running a campaign at the moment which will go to the new Secretary of State (Greg Clark) complaining about the decision and how it was achieved.
“The developer put in supporters for the scheme by people who won’t be affected. Of 372 letters of support, over half came from Louth,” he claimed.
“We are going to submit a petition to the Secretary of State. It will confirm there’s overriding objection to the wind farm. We won’t stop until the decision is overturned. The battle isn’t over yet.”
Manchester-based ASC Renewables, which is behind the Bishopthorpe scheme, did not respond to our requests for comment but the energy trade association RenewableUK says the planning changes mean one set of rules for onshore wind turbines and another for other types of development.
“Government has created a skewed playing field, deliberately restricting onshore wind energy projects in favour of other energy technologies, for example, fracking – even though less than a quarter of the public supports it,” said deputy chief executive Maf Smith.
“We support local councils taking decisions about local projects. Onshore wind is the most cost effective way to generate clean electricity, consistently enjoying two-thirds public support in all the opinion polls, so councils will want to take this into consideration.
“If councils and politicians listen to what the clear majority of people say, they will know that proposals do enjoy strong local support. If the Government is serious in its commitment to keep the lights on at the lowest possible cost – they will need to support onshore wind,” he said.
However, Gainsborough MP Sir Edward Leigh welcomed the changes to planning rules, plus an end to bill-payer subsidies for new onshore wind farms from April 2016.
“For far too long our communities have feared they were powerless to stop wind farm developments that they objected to from going ahead,” said the MP who has backed local campaigns against turbine projects planned for around Caistor, Hemswell Cliff and other parts of the Wolds.
“Thanks to the Conservatives, this will now change,” he said, adding local people will “not be forced to accept decisions imposed upon them”.
The MP released the statement on Tuesday, which also follows the government announcing the decision concerning the appeal over plans for turbines at Hemswell Cliff will be delayed from late June to late July.
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