Saturday, January 01, 2011

Council has power to decide if wind turbines are too close to homes

Following my motion that was approved by the East Riding of Yorkshire Council at the Wednesday 13th October 2010 Full Council meeting, where I requested that “the Council asks the Secretary of State to give urgent consideration to reviewing the government’s planning guidance on renewable energy as clarification is needed on national minimum distances between wind turbines and affected residences taking into account the size of the turbine.”

In his reply the Minister of State at the department of Energy and Climate Change, Charles Hendry MP says:

“There are no plans for the government to introduce a proximity rule. The assessment of an application to develop a windfarm already includes, amongst other things, an analysis of visual and landscape impacts to ascertain whether the location and height of the wind farm is acceptable.”

“The Government considers that these impacts are best assessed on a case by case basis so that local factors can be taken fully into account, regardless of whether applications are dealt with at a national or local level. Where applications are dealt with at the local level, we believe that councils should have the opportunity to decide these matters on behalf of their local community.”

Minister for Decentralisation, Greg Clark MP, in a very similar reply reiterates this, and also indicates the Government’s plans to put forward a “simple and consolidated National planning framework covering all forms of development.”

On face value this would appear to mean that the buck stops with the East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s Planning Committee as to where wind turbines are located in relation to dwellings.

This will hopefully contribute to a positive outcome for Spaldington residents, when the two separate wind farm schemes close to the village are heard at appeal in the Spring. The proposal was for sites on either side of the village, with the community being in the middle of a 12 turbine windfarm of 126m high turbines. There would have been 24 houses within 775m of the nearest turbine and would have been the closest of any wind farm developments in East Riding to nearby homes.

The decision of the Planning Committee in September was to refuse both applications; therefore if the Ministers are to be taken at their word the decision to refuse these applications should be upheld by the planning inspector.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations Paul for the success of your efforts.
I hope this means a good new year for the people of SPALDINGTON

Wendy McKay said...

Thank you Paul for raising the issue at the highest level. The Minister's words are extremely encouraging and indicate that the Planning Inspector should give significant weight to the decisions of the Councillors on East Riding's Planning Committee who refused both wind farm applications. The local community is overwhelmingly opposed to the wind farms as are all 8 of the surrounding parish and town councils.