Delight as Eric Pickles throws out wind farm

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ERIC pickles has delighted campaigners against “blot-on-the-landscape” turbines by backing objections to yet another wind farm in East Yorkshire.

In a decision which campaigners said showed a “sea change” in opinion, the Communities Secretary overturned planning inspector Paul Griffiths’ decision to give the Thornholme Fields farm the go-ahead.

Earlier this year East Riding Council, which has spent nearly £1m contesting wind farm applications, said they would find it hard to justify “throwing away” more taxpayers’ money if they lost the case.

The council originally refused planning permission for the scheme, which is 6km from Bridlington, on land between Thornholme and Woldgate, on the grounds it would have an unacceptable impact on the landscape and on the setting of Burton Agnes Hall.

Mr Griffiths, dubbed “Inspector Blight” for granting permission to developers to erect turbines in many of the cases he has heard, found the landscape could “comfortably absorb” the six turbines, standing up to 110metres high.

But Mr Pickles concluded the landscape “was particularly sensitive to wind turbine development” and “would suffer harm.” He also agreed that the turbines would be “a distracting modern, discordant presence in views” from the Hall, 1km away.

Campaigner Alan McLean said: “I am over the moon. At the inquiry the changes the Government made last year (to give more weight to residents’ concerns about damage to landscapes and heritage sites) were poo-pooed. But this shows there has been a sea-change. The East Riding Council have been proper guardians of the landscape. Hopefully they will see they did get it right, their landscape assessment was right and the Secretary of State does think they are right and they have the courage to resist them.”

Local resident Sue Burt said: “We are delighted. We have always said it is the wrong development in the wrong place. Four parishes, MEPs, our MP and David Hockney were against it.”

Applications continue to flood in an area many feel has been disproportionately targeted - the most recent being EDF Energy Renewables plans for a 12-turbine farm near Tibthorpe. The council has defended 13 appeals by developers over major wind farm applications since 2008, losing eight and winning three, at a cost of around £70,000 per appeal. Coun Symon Fraser described the decision as “a bit of a landmark in terms of hopefully seeing greater weight given to local opinion and it does give us a glimmer of hope in what was becoming a very desperate landscape.”