Hemswell decision likely after election

The Hemswell Cliff wind turbine inquiry at The Epic Centre EMN-150127-115631001
The Hemswell Cliff wind turbine inquiry at The Epic Centre EMN-150127-115631001

Plans for 10 wind turbines at Hemswell Cliff have been likened to “cultural vandalism.”

Ernest Coleman of the VOCAT opposition group said it would be like “building a McDonalds inside Canterbury Cathedral.”

The two-week long public inquiry into the proposal closed last week, with a decision not expected until after the May General Election.

“It could take several months before a decision is made as it could be called in by the Secretary of State,” said a West Lindsey District Council spokeswoman afterwards.

During the inquiry at Lincolnshire Showground’s EPIC Centre, local speakers put their case, including Dr David Marcombe on the historic features of Spital-in-the-Street.

David Lee, chairman of Bishop Norton Parish Council, Jeff Boothby, Chairman of Grayingham Parish Council and Vicky Kirman, Chair of Hemswell Cliff Parish Council, all said the turbines would greatly impact on their communities. Dr Graham Hales also claimed the noise from the turbines could damage people’s health.

Ernest Coleman spoke on geology and flooding, plus aviation and radar, saying the turbines would affect RAF navigation signals.

His aviation comments were received without challenge.

Barry Dutton of the parish councils also warned the turbines would damage tourism.

VOCAT says it received 3,500 letters of objection to the project, almost all from local people, adding those in support were typically from outside the area. Public interest was also high, with so many wanting to speak, an evening session had to be arranged, which went on past 9pm.

Green Party campaigners say they collected 841 letters of support for the project, which have been passed on to the planning inspectorate. They add to a further 945 letters earlier collected and submitted to West Lindsey District Council.

Neil Parnell, developer for RWE Innogy UK, was happy with how the public inquiry went, saying it showed the site was “ideal with good wind speeds, grid connection and excellent road access.”

“Support locally has been very encouraging and it was pleasing to hear many talk about the local benefits the wind farm will bring in addition to the wider implications on climate change and helping to protect the UK’s energy security. We expect the wind farm to bring around £10m of investment through UK construction contracts and a further cash injection of around £100,000 into local community projects each year,” he said.