Plans to build a “devastating” wind farm in open countryside have been pulled.
Developers behind a controversial 20-turbine wind farm on Nocton Fen halted their bid after a change in planning rules threatened its viability.
Vattenfall, the Swedish energy company, feared the Nocton Fen Wind Energy Project would struggle as the decision would now rest with local authority planners rather than being decided nationally.
The changes give power back to local communities to have the final say over whether or not they are built in their area.
A separate project to build six 100-metre high turbines at Croft Bank near Skegness has also been withdrawn this week, due to the planning changes and subsidy cuts.
Graham Davey, Vattenfall’s project manager for the Nocton Fen Wind Energy Project, said: “It would have delivered significant benefit locally and generated affordable, clean and renewable energy for tens of thousands of homes every year.”
If approved, the turbines would have stood at 150 metres. The wind energy developer has just completed a six-week consultation with local residents as part of the statutory consultation process, which Vattenfall bosses hailed as a success only last week.
But he said that because of increased risk, stopping the scheme now was a sensible decision for the company.
Melvin Grosvenor, a spokesman for Protect Nocton Fen, said: “We’re all extremely pleased – it’s an excellent result and the local community will breathe a sigh of relief that Vattenfall has finally taken notice of the local communities who were demonstrating against this proposal.
“It’s been a hard fight and we were gearing up to get experts in place to raise our concerns with the upcoming application.
“If it had gone ahead it would have devastated views for miles – they would have been the tallest turbines in Lincolnshire and the impact would have extended for up to 35km – the local landscape would have been ruined.”
North Kesteven District Council leader, Cllr Marion Brighton, said: “This was a significant project in terms of its scale and nature, and we were very conscious of its potential effects on the local area and of the concerns expressed by local communities during pre-application consultations.
“We fully understood the concerns of local residents and those of other agencies in respect of these proposals and, jointly with neighbouring authorities, engaged a planning and environmental consultancy to ensure that local impacts associated with the development were fully considered.
“We welcome Vattenfall’s decision and appreciate them making this announcement so soon after the close of their recent statutory pre-application engagement.
“I feel that their proposals would have been unreasonably intrusive in terms of the landscape character and amenity of local communities and I am sure that this decision not to proceed will be of significant comfort in bringing clarity on Vattenfall’s position in light of the Government’s recent policy announcements.”
Lincolnshire Independent leader Cllr Marianne Overton, who sits on Lincolnshire County Council and North Kesteven District Council, said: “Vattenfall has withdrawn their application for 20 turbines almost 500ft high – twice as high as the cliff edge and setting a precedent for more.
“Colleagues and I have worked both nationally and locally on the issue – the new minister for local government, Greg Clarke, has agreed the decision should now be a local one.”
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