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Application by Renewable Energy Systems Limited for consent to
Application by Renewable Energy Systems Limited for consent to construct and operate an 85 MW wind turbine generating station at Keadby in North Lincolnshire (application no. 2003/1630) Background At the planning committee held on 5 March 2005 North Lincolnshire Council resolved to object to the above proposal on specific grounds, primarily contained within SPG13 and policy DS21(i) of the North Lincolnshire Local Plan, and this objection is fundamentally made on landscape grounds. In January 2006 the applicant company submitted supplementary environmental information to the Secretary of State for the Department of Trade and Industry and forwarded a copy of that information to North Lincolnshire Council, requesting further comments. A joint public inquiry into this licence application to the Department of Trade and Industry, together with the application by E.ON UK Renewables Ltd at Tween Bridge, is scheduled to start on 9 January 2007 and is programmed to last for at least six weeks. The inquiry is to be held at The Vikings Hotel, Goole and some eveni ng sessions are to be arranged, both in Thorne and Keadby. A pre-inquiry meeting has taken place and set down, via the programming officer appointed by the Department of Trade and Industry, the way in which the public inquiry should be conducted. North Lincolnshire Council has appointed landscape consultants to give evidence at the inquiry and appear on the council’s behalf. The case will primarily be based on the impact the development will have on the landscape of the area, both individually and cumulati vely with other wind farm proposals in the Humber Head Levels area. The inspector, at the pre-inquiry meeting, requested that an up-to-date statement be provided on all wind farm proposals in the Humber Head Levels area at the opening of the inquiry. Because of the range and complex nature of the issues involved, and particularly because it is considering two separate sites, the inspector has decided to deal with the inquiry, for the most part, on a topic-based agenda and in the programming officer’s report of the pre-inquiry meeting a programme is given for the dates on which relevant topics will be discussed. In order for the inspector to be fully aware of North Lincolnshire Council’s up -to-date position on the wind farm proposals before him, it is importa nt that this council considers the supplementary environmental information which has been submitted in relation to this proposal and the amendments contained therein. Main points and amendments contained within the supplementary environmental information submitted to North Lincolnshire Council for comment In mid January this year Bond Pearce, on behalf of Renewable Energy Systems Ltd (RES), submitted to North Lincolnshire Council, as consultee in respect of their application to the Department of Trade and Industry, supplementary environmental information in the form of amended environmental impact assessments, including additional photomontages, figures and a new non-technical summary. The refinements that have been made by RES relate to the following issues: • a reduction in the number of turbines from 39 to 34 by the deletion of turbines 1-4 and turbine 10 from the original scheme; • the repositioning of some of the remaining turbines; • a reduction in the length of the access track; • the identification of various works in respect of three vehicle accesses; and • in respect of the grid and cable connection details. The supplementary environmental information also addresses matters which have emerged since the application was submitted, including the issue of new government policy concerning renewable energy, recent advice from English Nature which constitutes a change of position on the part of English Nature with regard to what it considers to be the likely significant effect of the scheme on a European site and potential for cumulative environmental effects in combination with other proposals in the area. This information has been submitted to the Department of Trade and Industry and this council on a voluntary basis, rather than pursuant to a request for further information. The information has been given publicity by advertisement in newspapers circulated in the locality and copies have been left for public inspection at Crowle library, North Lincolnshire Council offices and the offices of the applicant company. Additionally, North Lincolnshire Council has carried out a round of consultations and many of the previous objectors to the scheme have reaffirmed their objections, including the Lincolnshire Trust, Campaign to Protect Rural England, Garthorpe and Fockerby Parish Council, Luddington and Haldenby Parish Council, Crowle Town Council, Amcotts Parish Council and Keadby Parish Council. Robin Hood International Airport have registered an objection to the proposal on the grounds of aviation safety, specifically on the impact of the development on the radar that operates from Robin Hood Airport. Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council have reconsidered their position following the submission of the supplementary environmental information and have confirmed that following consideration by their planning committee an objection from them has now been received to this proposal by RES on the grounds that it will impact on aviation safety at Robin Hood Airport and also limit the regeneration potential for the airport and the adjoining commercial development. As a result of the publicity given to the submission of this supplementary environmental information, both by the applicant company and North Lincolnshire Council, 46 individual letters have been received objecting to the proposal principally on the grounds that it represents an over-development and is more than the agreed share that this region can accommodate in line with Government renewable energy targets. Furthermore, around 50 letters have been written directly to the Department of Trade and Industry, again mentioning the same issues that have been previously reported to this committee plus those highlighted above in addition to the fact that noise from the proposed wind turbine development will have a serious impact on local residents, particularly during the hours of darkness. The supplementary environmental information that has been submitted is expansive and the refinements to the scheme are duly noted and have to be considered in line with the original scheme and representations received. It has been concluded that the physical refinements that have been made to the scheme as set out do not represent a significant enough change in circumstances to warrant North Lincolnshire Council changing its original view to this scheme, that is that it will have a serious impact on the landscape of the area by virtue of its scale and location. No technical objections have been received in respect of noise. Whilst appreciating local concerns about the area being asked to accommodate more than the Government’s renewable energy targets for this region, there is no additional information which would enable North Lincolnshire Council to either withdraw or add to its original objection. Recommendation North Lincolnshire Council, after considering the supplementary environ- mental information submitted voluntarily by RES in respect of the Keadby wind farm proposal, wish to advise the Department of Trade and industry that the council maintains its objection to the proposal.
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