Council says ‘enough is enough’ and comes out against wind farms

COUNTY councillors have taken a bold stand against wind farms - vowing that ‘enough is enough’ and agreeing a new stricter policy on turbines.

Lincolnshire County Council’s executive members have today agreed to take a stronger position on wind farms, with stricter conditions before any more can be put up.

The policy states that no turbines should be built within 2km of someone’s home, or 10km of a village of more than 10 properties.

The stance has attracted national interest, coming as the Government is expected to slash subsidies for turbines as the mood turns against the structures.

County council leader Martin Hill said: “There’s been a proliferation of wind farms across Lincolnshire in recent years, and we feel that enough is enough.

“Although we understand the need for alternative energy and are not opposed to all wind farms, we remain unconvinced by the questionable science behind them.

“Not only are these things spoiling our beautiful countryside for future generations, they could also seriously damage our tourism industry – who wants to spend their holiday looking at a 400ft turbine?

“Similarly, who wants to live next door to one? People enjoy living in Lincolnshire because we have a great way of life, not because the landscape’s blighted by wind farms.

“On top of that, there are also issues around the damage caused to roads during the construction and decommissioning of turbines.

“And at a time of rising ‘fuel poverty’ people shouldn’t have to subsidise these developments through their energy bills.

“For these reason, we want to raise the bar even higher for anyone wanting to construct a wind farm in the county, and urge them to think twice about the impact their plans will have.”

Responsibility for planning still rests on borough and district councils but the new planning statement sets out the county council’s views.

The policy states:

*Landscape and Cumulative Visual Impact: The County Council is very concerned that the proliferation of onshore wind farm proposals would, if approved and implemented, result in the industrialisation and urbanisation of a highly rural county renowned and characterised by its big skies and uninterrupted vistas.

*Impact on the Historic and Natural Environment: Wind turbine development should not take place in areas of historic importance or in such a way to impact on the visual outlook of such sites, e.g. cathedrals, parish churches

*Residential Amenity: Amenity of existing residential occupants must be maintained at an acceptable level in particular, no wind turbine should be constructed within 2km of a single residential property, and no wind farms should be constructed with 10km of a village with more than 10 properties.

*Related Infrastructure: The presumption is for connecting cables to be placed underground and use made of existing or replacement pylons (of the same size and scale) along existing routes to carry the additional base load cabling. We will also require that all above and below ground infrastructure is removed post decommissioning and a bond held by the local authority to ensure compliance.

*Construction Vehicles: to mitigate the obvious impact on the roads network a bond should be paid, upfront, before any works commence.

*Local Economy: Whether individually or cumulatively wind farm developments should not have a negative impact upon the local economy, particularly upon tourism.

The move against wind farms has been criticised in some quarters as an abandonment of the Government’s pledge to be the ‘greenest ever’.

However, Coun Hill defended the move, and said: “Lincolnshire Conservatives are committed to the green energy agenda, already we have fitted solar panels to our buildings, begun building a revolutionary energy from waste plant as well as supporting straw powered electricity generation and anaerobic digestion plants.

“Already this authority has delivered, with our district partners, energy efficiency measures to 15,000 homes.”

Coun Hill also defended the charge that this move was simply ‘nimbysim’, and argued that the authority is standing up for the needs of Lincolnshire people.

Coun Colin Davie, chairman of the council’s environmental scrutiny committee added: “This is not about energy efficiency or even wind farms it is about subsidy farming: businesses getting rich from the public and in particular those most effected by fuel poverty.”