New group investigates renewable energy plans

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A GROWING number of enquires and formal planning applications from developers for renewable energy projects, including solar and wind farms, are being received by the council.

As a result, a new Task and Finish Group, chaired by Coun Paul Howitt-Cowan, has been set up.

Particular emphasis will be on renewable energy sourcing and improving our understating of the technologies available and the impact of their usage.

Examples of proposals within the district that are at pre-application stage include:

l A 17-turbine wind farm at Brown’s Holt, north-east of Corringham;

l A 12-turbine wind farm north of Hemswell Cliff.

In both cases the maximum tip height of the turbines would be 127m above ground level.

As a result, members of the council’s development management committee have agreed to extended publicity and consultation procedures for planning applications for the larger wind turbine proposals.

Letters will now be sent to all business and residential addresses within 2km of the nearest turbine over a certain height.

The development management committee making the decision will hold one-off meetings to consider such applications at the nearest suitable venue rather than it necessarily being at Gainsborough Guildhall.

West Lindsey’s development management team leader, Simon Sharp said: “It is a national objective to increase energy efficiency and secure more of our energy requirements through renewable sources.

“However, West Lindsey has a rich natural environment and built heritage which includes parts of the Lincolnshire Wolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, areas of great landscape value, designated conservation areas, listed buildings and numerous small towns and villages.

“The potential contributions to renewable energy targets need to be balanced against these very important considerations before any decision is made on any wind turbine/wind farm proposal.”

Further information about proposals the council has received, relevant issues and the development process can be obtained from West Lindsey Council’s planning and development services section on 01427 676676 or e-mail planning.customer.care@west-lindsey.gov.uk .