Government rejects wind farm

The Hemswell Cliff wind turbine inquiry begins at The Epi Centre EMN-150824-120406001
The Hemswell Cliff wind turbine inquiry begins at The Epi Centre EMN-150824-120406001

Plans for a major wind farm development in Hemswell Cliff have been rejected by the secretary of state.

RWE Innogy UK Ltd had planned to build 10 turbines taller than Lincoln Cathedral, creating energy for to up to 15,000 homes each year.

But secretary of state MP Greg Clark yesterday (Tuesday) refused planning permission saying the 126.5m turbines would ‘significantly intrude upon and dominate the setting’, they would result in ‘substantial harm to heritage assets of significant archaeological interest’ and that they would have an ‘adverse visual impact on the setting and appearance of local landscape character’.

The application - originally rejected by West Lindsey District Council - attracted widespread attention with thousands of letters of support and opposition.

RWE regional development manager Mark Crawford, said: “We are naturally disappointed that we have been refused planning permission.

“At a time when onshore wind farms like Hemswell Cliff could make a positive and increasingly essential difference to climate change, energy bills and local investment, it is a shame that the project will not proceed further and allow the area to be area to meet its own energy needs.”

The decision has been welcomed by MP Sir Edward Leigh who said he was ‘delighted’; while pro-turbine campaigner Jonathan Lincoln of Action 4 Hemswell Cliff Wind Farm described the move as ‘terrible’.

Sir Edward said: “I’m delighted that the minister has backed local residents as well as the original, unanimous decision of West Lindsey District Council’s planning committee.

“We owe a lot to people in and around the villages of Hemswell Cliff, the VOCAT campaign group, and the planning committee of the district council for their strength and determination in securing this result.

“The Government has been keen to ensure that local decision-making is backed up and that big energy companies don’t prolong the process through expensive appeals. This is an excellent result and will help preserve the beauty of our Lincolnshire countryside.”

Mr Lincoln said: “This is terrible news. It’s absolutely the wrong decision.

“Hemswell Cliff should have been given the green light - it’s a good place for a wind farm. It’s a missed opportunity.

“The consequences of not addressing climate change are severe and irreversible.

“It’s a huge mistake. If you can’t accept wind turbines in a field then how can you accept far greater changes to address climate change.

“It’s a great shame, a lost opportunity and it deserved to go ahead.”

The decision comes after an eight-day public inquiry held back in January.

Read next week’s Mail for more reaction.