A contentious wind farm development would ‘threaten the very fabric of our natural environment’, ‘devastate property’ and ‘must be rejected’, a planning inquiry heard.
Evidence presented during the Orby Wind Farm Inquiry’s public session was almost entirely opposed to the development, with only one speaker presenting in its favour.
Planning inspector Trevor Cookson heard evidence from councillors and residents potentially affected by proposals to build nine turbines at Orby Marsh during the meeting at Hogsthorpe Village Hall on Tuesday evening.
Disabled Welton le Marsh resident Dr John Yeadon said the disturbance caused by Mark Caudwell’s development would ‘literally kill’ him and his wife, who had moved to the area for health reasons.
Speaking on behalf of his wife Kylie, he said: “Wind turbines have been reported to cause sleep disturbance, stress nausea, malaise, headaches and fatigue, which are precisely the symptoms I can here to try to alleviate.”
Dr Yeadon added further concerns regarding the development’s likelihood to worsen an already flood-prone region and spoil one of Lincolnshire’s few areas with ‘spectacularly hilly views’.
Coun Colin Davie, an outspoken opponent to the proposals throughout its 10 year history, presented a letter from Sir Peter Tapsell MP in addition to his own evidence.
Sir Peter objected to the wind farm in accordance with the government’s localism agenda which states ‘unwanted development should not be forced on to communities.’
He also felt it inappropriately given the region’s history of protection from ‘intrusive development’ due to its proximity to an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
“The nature topography and rural calmness of the outmarsh simply cannot absorb large alien features,” he wrote.
Coun Davie’s own objections cited the validity of East Lindsey District Council’s original refusal and focused on the diminished benefits of its scaled-down resubmission which would produce less energy and off-set less carbon dioxide than Mr Caudwell’s previous application to build 20 taller turbines.
Given the reduced benefits of this application Coun Davie struggled to see how it outweighed the harm it would cause.
He also referred to a letter from the Department of Climate Change which said that Lincolnshire’s onshore wind farm renewable energy targets of 13GW by 2020, were ‘largely on the table’ with 5.1GW operational, 6.5GW in the construction or pre-construction phase and a further 6.9GW in planning.
As the county is already approaching the upper limit of its onshore wind farm target, Coun Davie believes only the most appropriate projects should be approved.He said: “Lincolnshire has a positive agenda for renewables, with many opportunities in the county but we are very clear that aggressive industrial development in the open countryside that threatens the fabric and integrity of our natural environment must be resisted so future generations can enjoy what we have enjoyed.”
Further objections were made by Grainthorpe resident Jill Lingard who already suffered from noise caused by other nearby turbines, which she likened to a ‘jet engine on low idle, a steam train or a Chinook helicopter’ and feared this development would worsen the ‘industrial intrusion in the quite location which we live.’
The accuracy of the planning documents also came under fire from other speakers, who claimed key features had been omitted from maps, which they feared could betray further errors in the plans.
And wildlife objections were made by nearby resident of 18 years Geraldine Smedley who said the developer’s bird survey was ‘ludicrous and shameful’.
A lone message of support was voiced by Burgh-le-Marsh resident Mike Hutchinson who felt turbines ‘were the best thing about the Wolds’ and criticised those opposing the plans as ‘Luddites’.
“For heaven’s sake look to the future and grant this application,” he said.
Despite the overwhelmingly negative nature of the evidence presented during the public session, Mr Caudwell, speaking after the meeting, said he thought the rest of the inquiry ‘seems to be going very well’ though he accused the county council of acting ‘underhandedly’ in its approach.
The final decision is expected in the next five to seven weeks.