The first week of June saw Lincolnshire County Council significantly toughen their position on wind farm developments, firmly stating that they wanted to halt the “unrestrained invasion” of turbines across the region.
This includes a number of aspects, all of which combine to create a presumption against wind turbine developments “on the grounds of potential negative cumulative visual impact, unless wind farms should be located such that they would not merge with the existing developments (on and off shore), thereby resulting in a negative cumulative visual impact”.
The Council have specified that settlements of more than 10 dwellings should not have wind turbine developments in more than 90° of their field of view, they comment that “this normally equates to 10km from windows in residential properties”.
Individual dwellings should not have wind turbines in more than 180° of their field of view, they added.
The minimum distance between a development and a residential property should be 2km, it says, unless through assessment it can be demonstrated that there would be acceptable noise levels within the 2km radius.
Further comments were made on offshore wind farms, and the potential they have to negatively affect local tourism.
“The cumulative impact of an off shore wind farm along the tourism coast is of particular concern, especially where the coastal strip would be visually dominated by such developments,”
The statement indicates that such large scale developments should demonstrate that they deliver economic, social, environmental and/or community benefits that are directly related to the proposed development and are of a reasonable scale and nature to the local area.
Cllr Martin Hill (leader of Lincolnshire CC), said: “There’s been a proliferation of wind farms across Lincolnshire in recent years, and we feel that enough is enough. Although we understand the need for alternative energy and are not opposed to all wind farms, we remain unconvinced by the questionable science behind them.
“Not only are these things spoiling our beautiful countryside for future generations, they could also seriously damage our tourism industry – who wants to spend their holiday looking at a 400ft turbine?”
“Similarly, who wants to live next door to one? People enjoy living in Lincolnshire because we have a great way of life, not because the landscape’s blighted by wind farms. On top of that, there are also issues around the damage caused to roads during the construction and decommissioning of turbines.
“And at a time of rising ‘fuel poverty’ people shouldn’t have to subsidise these developments through their energy bills. For these reasons, we want to raise the bar even higher for anyone wanting to construct a wind farm in the county, and urge them to think twice about the impact their plans will have.”
Unfortunately, as with all County Councils, the Lincolnshire CC is not a local planning body, nor does it have a say in local development plans. The statement is therefore political only and time will tell what influence it will wield over the local planning departments that decide on wind farms on an individual basis. Should it prove to be effective, however, we may see similar statements from councils presiding over Britain’s threatened rural counties.
We have written on the flawed planning process surrounding wind turbine development proposals in this month’s newsletter. Read our article here.