The decision by the Government appointed planning inspector to overrule the East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s Planning Committee by granting permission for the Sixpennywood Windfarm application near Howden is yet another kick in the teeth for local democracy. Clearly the inspector has played lip service to the Governments agenda and completely failed to take into account the Council’s good record of having already exceeded its 2021 renewable energy target by some 26%, he has not taken into account the local feeling, and he has completely failed to recognise the devastating effect a windfarm of such size and scale will have on the landscape.
In the past, as a member of the ERYC Planning Committee I have voted for and against windfarm applications depending on their size, scale and location. But for me this particular application was never about wind energy, it was never about a windfarm on this site – it was all about sheer size and scale of the proposal and the greed of Your Energy the company behind the application, maximising it’s profits by having the greatest number of the largest turbines on the site, with the nearest being 630m from a dwelling.
The company has acted in a very questionable manner from the very beginning, playing scant regard to community engagement, riding roughshod over local concerns, measuring the background noise in very dubious circumstances, and changing the size of the turbines between the Planning Committee making its decision and the case going to appeal. Your Energy comes out of this whole sordid affair with a planning consent worth millions but with it’s credibility seriously questioned.
Needless to say the residents of Kilpin, Laxton, Balkholme and Eastrington will be overlooked by 10 of the largest wind turbines constructed in the Britain, and with each turn of the gigantic blades raking taxpayers money into the coffers of an offshore company. I am aghast at the inspector when he says in his decision notice “Subject to suitable conditions I do not find that there would be unacceptable harm to the living conditions of nearby residents” I would find it very difficult to explain this to those residents whose lives are going to be changed.
This is an appeal that we could not afford to lose, I now fear for other areas and communities of the East Riding of Yorkshire that are likely to suffer the same fate, as the speculative windfarm developers move in with applications of a similar massive size and scale, at a distance of less than 650m from people’s houses. Local democracy is worth fighting for, local voices are important and should be heard, alas this is clearly not the Governments understanding, when they trample all over local democratically elected Councillors, the sooner this centralist government with its complete lack of understanding of rural issues is thrown out the better.
To listen to an interview I gave to BBC Radio Humberside's Peter Levy on this item please click: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p005drw5/The_Peter_Levy_Show_09_12_2009/ the interview starts at 11.40 in.