Inspectors blow hot on wind turbine plan

PLANNING inspectors have given the go ahead to a controversial wind turbine development after it was refused by a council planning committee.

Major potato grower Northwold Farm has been granted planning permission to erect two 34-metre wind turbines on its land in between Rothwell and Thoresway – despite West Lindsey District Council’s planning committee rejecting the proposals in November, saying they would “unfavourably impact on this protected area of landscape beauty.”

Market Rasen MP Edward Leigh had strong objections to the turbines and was relieved when the application was turned down.

He said they would be a “blight on the landscape” and “inappropriate” in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. He said: “It is totally and wholly inappropriate for 100-foot turbines to be in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. They will be a blight upon a much-loved corner of our county and will spoil a recognised AONB.”

Since the appeal was submitted the government’s National Planning Policy Framework has come into force – this gives more power to local people when it comes to planning applications.

Major wind turbine developments are not allowed in AONBs, but planning inspector Wendy Burden said this did not constitute a “major” development.

The main views of the turbines are likely to be from the Rothwell to Thoresway road. They will also be seen from nearby public footpaths.

Residents expressed concerns about noise from the turbines, but the council and planning inspector have said this would be unlikely.

Planning inspector Wendy Burden said: “In conclusion, set within a working farm and largely screened within the undulating folds of the landscape, the proposed wind turbines would be a small scale development with a limited effect on the character and appearance of the AONB.

“Furthermore, the visual impact on visitors and residents of the area would not be significant. Having regard to the national requirement to increase the availability of low carbon energy resources, I consider that the appeal should be allowed.”

A supporting statement in Northwold Farm’s planning application submitted to West Lindsey council said supermarkets were keen to show a reducing carbon footprint from food production and are putting pressure on suppliers to adopt renewable energy techniques.