Appeals ‘no longer futile’ after village wins wind farm battle

David Davis MP and Howdenshire Ward Councillor Victoria Aitken celebrating with Spaldington Parish Council and local residents
David Davis MP and Howdenshire Ward Councillor Victoria Aitken celebrating with Spaldington Parish Council and local residents
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VILLAGERS say a precedent has been set in the fight against wind farms in the East Riding after Communities Secretary Eric Pickles agreed there were too many turbines in the area.

The Minister dismissed an appeal by RWE Innogy UK for the six-turbine River Valley farm near Welham Bridge, Holme upon Spalding Moor, on the recommendation of planning inspector John Woolcock, following a public inquiry in May.

East Riding Council which had spent more than £900,000 contesting wind farm applications warned earlier this year that it would be difficult to justify spending more taxpayers’ money after losing a string of appeals.

However the River Valley scheme is the second major appeal the council has won this year, following Mr Pickles’ overturning of planning inspector Paul Griffiths’ decision to allow the Thornholme Fields wind farm, near Burton Agnes Hall.

Haltemprice and Howden MP David Davis said it showed that fighting appeals was “no longer a futile exercise or waste of money”.

In his ruling Mr Pickles said that he shared Mr Woolcock’s view “that the cumulative effects of the appeal proposal along with existing and consented turbines are particularly important in this case.”

At the time of the inquiry there were 44 wind turbines already operating or consented within a six mile radius and another 11 large turbines in planning.

Villagers said the case set a precedent that other communities trying to fight off excessive development could use.

The East Riding has the highest density of turbines in the country and demonstrators marched on County Hall, Beverley, earlier this summer in protest.

Spaldington Parish Council, which had already spent three years battling two other wind farm schemes, winning one and losing the other, played a key role in getting River Valley refused, taking full part in the inquiry, assisted by experts paid for by donations.

Howdenshire ward councillor Victoria Aitken praised the efforts of vice chairman Rob Hare and clerk Wendy McKay. She said: “The parish council identified the key issues, formulated an objection based on valid planning reasons and defended those reasons at the inquiry.

“They were instrumental in ensuring that the application was originally refused by councillors on the planning committee, contrary to the planning officer’s recommendation.”

Ms McKay said the case set “a precedent such that other communities facing excessive wind turbine development in the East Riding and beyond now have a case to refer to.

“We have established where the line should be drawn.”

Coun Hare added: “The most important point is that the Inspector and Secretary of State have dismissed this appeal on cumulative impact – they have agreed with us that there is no room for any more wind farms in this area.

“This not only stops the six turbines of the River Valley wind farm, but also presents a significant deterrent to other developers submitting applications for any more large turbines in this area.

“We have shown that local opinion is right - enough means enough.”

East Riding councillor Symon Fraser said there were still “quite a few” wind farm schemes in the exploratory stages, adding: “We are just very pleased that the appeals we are fighting are being more successful and would stress that we have to consider each and every application on its merits.”