Action groups and campaigners have welcomed new Government measures giving local people the final say on wind turbine proposals.
A written ministerial statement made on Thursday by Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Greg Clark said that from now on, when determining planning applications for wind energy development involving one or more turbines, local planning authorities should only grant permission if
* The development site is in an area identified as suitable for wind energy development in a Local or Neighbourhood Plan, and;
* Following consultation, it can be demonstrated that the planning impacts identified by affected local communities have been fully addressed and therefore the proposal has their backing.
The Government has also announced that new onshore windfarms will be excluded from a subsidy scheme from April 1, 2016 – a year earlier than planned.
Fighting proposals for a six-turbine wind farm in the Vale of Belvoir – to the west of Sewstern Lane, near Allington, and to the north east of Bottesford – is Belvoir Locals Oppose Turbines (BLOT). The group, which lodged its objection to South Kesteven District Council last week, welcomed the new measures.
A spokesman said: “We applaud the long overdue halt to onshore turbine subsidies which has been the main reason for the ‘wind rush’ blighting the UK for the past 13 years.
“The Government has also introduced new legislation giving communities the final say over onshore wind farms. We encourage all those who have not yet objected to do so.”
As reported last month, BLOT says the 361-feet-tall turbines proposed would have a ‘severe impact’ upon heritage assets and would cause ‘unacceptable harm’ to the Vale’s historic landscape.
Applicant Whirlwind Renewables wants to develop the wind farm in an area to the south of Thackson’s Well Farm, near Bottesford. This latest application comes after planning inspectors threw out similar plans for wind farms at nearby Palmers Hollow, in Bottesford, in 2010 and at Thackson’s Well in 2008.
Whirlwind Renewables says its Sewstern Lane scheme ‘seeks to address concerns raised by the local community and the planning process for the orginal Thackson’s Well proposal’.
It says the operation of the proposed wind farm would have ‘impacts of slight magnitude and minor significance’ on the heritage significance of sites including Bottesford’s Grade I listed Church of St Mary and would have ‘impacts of negligible magnitude and significance’ on six assets including Grade I listed Belvoir Castle and the Easthorpe conservation area.
Planning applications for wind turbines which come before SKDC have often been a cause of concern for some, while others have voiced their support for schemes which would help achieve renewable energy targets and cut carbon emissions.