ANYONE wanting to build a wind farm in the Lincolnshire countryside should ‘think twice’.
That is the strong message coming from county councillors after a barrage of applications from developers wanting to erect turbines in our green and pleasant land.
A report to be considered by Lincolnshire County Council on 6th June says the West Lindsey district has the ‘highest potential’ for large scale wind farms to be built.
But the environmental scrutiny committee is recommending the council take a stronger stance against any possible wind farms.
“Lincolnshire’s attractive landscape, its coastal and historic areas are the cornerstone of our tourism industry,” said committee chair Coun Colin Davie.
“A proliferation of wind farms would not only have a severe impact on the natural environment, it could also seriously jeopardise a major sector of our economy.”
He said the committee agreed it was unfair for residents to be ‘blighted’ by wind farms and was ‘concerned’ long term damage could be done to roads during the building and taking down of the huge turbines.
“On top of this, onshore wind turbines are one of the least efficient ways of producing electricity,” he said.
“The fact that these developments are subsidised through energy bills is also contributing to the increase in ‘fuel poverty’, which currently affects a quarter of Lincolnshire homes.”
The committee wants the council to adopt a new position statement which ‘resists’ any proposed wind farms.
But the final planning decision lies with district councils - or the Secretary of State for wind farms over 50Mw.
West Lindsey District Council currently has five planning applications going through its system for a total of nine wind turbines.
But energy companies are scoping out potential sites across the county for hundreds of wind turbines.
One site is at Browns Holt between Corringham and Yawthorpe near Gainsborough. SSE Renewables is looking to build 17 turbines on the land, which would tower 126m high.
A company spokesman said ‘environmental investigations’ were still ongoing before an investment decision was made.
“The UK Government has made it clear that as part of our energy mix for the future, onshore wind will play an important role as one of the most cost-effective and proven renewable energy technologies, although they will need to be appropriately located,” he said.
Campaigner Peter Baldwin, of Willoughton, set up action group No To Local Wind Farms. He said the county council’s proposed stance was ‘good news’.
“It says everything we would want it to and it’s pleasing that the council see Lincolnshire as we see it,” said Peter.
MP Edward Leigh also backed the committee’s words of caution.
“Not only are wind farms unsightly and inefficient but the subsidy that makes them profitable for landowners and energy companies is a massive waste of taxpayers’ money, who only get higher energy bills in return,” he said.
WLDC has had a ‘growing number’ of enquires and formal planning applications from developers for renewable energy projects including solar and wind farms.
Coun Davie suggested this was because the Government subsidy was due to be cut in 2017.
WLDC planning 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 or wind farm proposal.”