Tories ‘must prove wind policy has teeth’

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Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has been asked to take the final decision over the expansion of a controversial East Riding wind farm.

Operator Energiekontor UK Limited has appealed against East Riding Council’s decision to reject plans to install four new 111m wind turbines outside Withernwick in addition to the nine already there.

Its outcome is being seen as a test of the Government’s promise to halt the spread of turbines which don’t have the public’s backing.

Local MP Graham Stuart has written to Mr Javid asking him to “recover” the appeal from the Planning Inspectorate.

A planning inquiry held at County Hall, Beverley, earlier this month, heard from residents including Andrew Hueck. He told The Yorkshire Post some villagers were plagued by noise and shadow flicker, with some having to wear ear plugs to sleep or to sleep downstairs. He said: “Every time a blade passes an upright it creates what I’d describe as a whooshing noise. There are nine turbines, each with three blades, so it’s just constant.

“No matter which way the wind blows local residents are affected. One lady who wrote to me who is one of the most affected said: ‘Another four turbines will only increase the cruel, invasive, disturbing noise in our village.’

“She added: ‘Please don’t tell us this cruel noise is acceptable. It’s not, we know, we have lived with it since the turbines are built, day in day out.’”

The East Riding is England’s top area for wind power, with more than 255MW of installed capacity. But Mr Heuck said locals felt enough was enough.

A postal survey showed out of 308 replies, 282 were against (92 per cent) and the nearest six parish councils objected to the extension.

Mr Stuart said: “People in Withernwick are appalled by the proposed new wind turbines, which the council agrees would have a significant adverse impact on the character and appearance of the landscape around the village.

“In our election manifesto last year the Conservatives made a commitment that onshore wind developments should only proceed when they have the support of the local community – something this application clearly does not have.”

He said Mr Javid has been asked to deal with the application in accordance with Government policy, adding: “Renewable energy is great but I have long made the argument that new installations must have community consent before they go ahead.

“Now is the time to prove this policy has teeth.”

The goahead was given for the original nine turbines in 2009 by the Government on appeal.

Campaigners took heart in 2014 after East Riding Council won two appeals against major wind developments.

Energiekontor UK said the 22MW farm would power around 5,500 homes and save 9,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.

The £36,000 community fund would increase by another £41,000 a year - over £1m for the lifetime of the windfarm - if the latest plan is approved. It had supported projects including including community transport, defibrillators and Yorkshire Air Ambulance. It said there were extensive planning conditions to ensure the wind farm did not exceed noise limits.

A statement added: “It is convention that the planning inspector overseeing the appeal will make their decision in accordance with the evidence laid before the inquiry.”

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