Library filed under Zoning/Planning from UK
Western Isles Council is seeking an urgent meeting with the Scottish Government to discuss "effective and alternative investment" for the islands if a controversial wind farm is rejected. The Government indicated last week it is "minded to refuse" Lewis Wind Power's (LWP) plans for a 181-turbine development, although a final decision has yet to be made. The news was welcomed by environmentalists, but disappointed Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, which sees the project bringing much-needed employment to the islands. In a letter to Alex Salmond, the First Minister, the council convener, Alex Macdonald, says rejection would be "the wrong decision for the Western Isles, for renewable energy and for Scotland". He says a negative decision would imply the Western Isles is "closed for renewable energy business in future, and that environmental considerations are the principal, and dominant, factor in considering applications for renewable energy developments in the Western Isles".
The chief executive of National Grid last night spoke of the "extremely challenging times" facing the energy sector. ...Mr Holliday said the economic imperative to tackle climate change was clear, while all types of energy - from renewables to coal - were needed to meet the challenges facing the UK in the next 15 years. "Gas will remain a critical energy source for homes, business and manufacturing for many decades to come," he said. "It will also provide the lion's share of the electricity generation in the short to medium term." ...He said, "Do not read into this that I do not support significant increases in renewables. I am absolutely behind this but it's not clear to me whether the real aim is to reduce greenhouse gas or to increase renewables. "It does not follow that the quickest and cheapest way to reduce greenhouse gas by 2020 is only by renewables."
Bute and Cowal's councillors have turned down plans for a 14-turbine wind farm on a south Cowal hill directly opposite Rothesay Bay. Six councillors on the Bute and Cowal area committee unanimously rejected the proposal by Cowal Wind Energy Ltd to establish a wind farm on Corlarach, capable of generating up to 42 megawatts of electricity. Some 30 members of the public were present at the Queen's Hall in Dunoon for the hearing on Tuesday morning, though apart from Peter Wallace, secretary of Bute Community Council, and a reporter from The Buteman, none appeared to have made the journey from Bute. Though the council's own planning department recommended that the application be refused, they also received a huge volume of public correspondence on the matter - with the vast majority of responses apparently supporting the plan.
Councillors from the Western Isles are to take their campaign backing the construction of a major wind farm on Lewis to the European Union. It is understood that the Scottish Government is "minded" to refuse the 181 turbine scheme. Angus Campbell, vice convener of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, said a meeting with Enterprise Minister Jim Mather on Monday was "constructive". Mr Campbell said he would raise the project at a major event in Brussels. As one of the key speakers at the EU's Sustainable Energy Week, he will argue that European environmental designations were not supposed to stop all development in island communities.
Yesterday, the "naes" could scent victory in the air when the Scottish Government wrote to the developer, Ameco, saying it was "minded to refuse" planning permission. However, ministers gave the company 21 days to address the concerns listed in a 14-page letter. The fate of the Lewis wind farm is far from just a barrage of hot air among island folk. It goes to the heart of Scotland's attempt to generate 50 per cent of its electricity using renewables, such as hydro, wave or wind power, by 2020.
The BBC's Gaelic news service, Radio nan Gaidheal, has learned that Scottish Government ministers are "minded to refuse" the 181 turbine scheme. More than 5,000 letters of objection to the proposals were received by the Scottish Government. It is believed environmental concerns are behind the decision. An official announcement from the Scottish Government is not expected for a further two or three weeks. A Scottish Government spokesman said: "No final decision has been taken and ministers are working towards finalising and announcing a decision in the near future." ...But the final decision on the planning application rested with the Scottish Government. The news was welcomed by local anti-wind farm campaigner Dinah Murray, who said the refusal would allow islanders' lives to return to normal.
There was outrage last night after the Scottish Government issued a press release stating permission had been granted for a massive wind farm in rural Perthshire-only to claim 16 minutes later there had been an "administrative error." The astonishing blunder left campaigners both devastated and deeply suspicious. Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Murdo Fraser last night called for a "full investigation." An application for the huge 68-turbine Griffin wind farm close to Aberfeldy was previously rejected by Perth and Kinross Council following massive public opposition. A public inquiry was then held and the final decision lies with ministers. The bizarre drama began when the Scottish Government distributed a press release headed "Green light for Scotland's third largest wind farm."
An environmentalist has accused councillors of rejecting plans for two new wind farms on "selfish" and "spurious" grounds. Denbighshire councillors turned down plans for 16 100-metre turbines on land to the east of Llyn Brenig, Nantglyn. They also threw out a separate application for 13 125-metre high turbines on land at Gorsedd Bran, Nantglyn. But Friends of the Earth Cymru's energy campaigner, Neil Crumpton, said the schemes would have helped in the global effort to cut carbon emissions and the authority's officials recommended the plans for approval.
Two wind farms will not go ahead after officials rejected the proposals which would have seen 29 turbines erected. Planners had been expected to approve the projects in Denbighshire at Llyn Brenig, near Cerrigydrudion, Conwy, and at Gorsedd Bran in Clocaenog Forest. But at a meeting to decide the matter, 18 councillors voted against the proposals, with just four in favour. There were two abstentions.
Britain will be forced to build thousands more wind turbines in the countryside under a Brussels edict to be announced tomorrow. Energy experts say new EU climate change targets mean the UK will have to generate 40 per cent of its electricity from green sources within 12 years. In order to meet that target, the number of wind turbines on the land would have to rise fourfold. Thousands more would be needed at sea. The move would be one of the greatest engineering projects in years - and dramatically change the skyline of Britain and its coastal waters.
Villagers are being urged to pen their objections to show "the strength of feeling" against a proposed 50-metre mast for Elvington. Parish councillors have lodged their opposition to Yorkshire Water's bid to install a wind monitoring mast at its water treatment plant at Elvington. Now they are urging residents to follow suit by appealing to City of York Council. The council also claims residents have been given "insufficient opportunity to comment". Fears have also been raised about how quality of life could be affected by potential noise, flickering shadows and strobe effect' caused by the mast, as well as concerns about the impact on local birdlife.
The Ministry of Defence has been accused of trying to put a "blanket ban" on onshore windfarm development in East Anglia. And in the wake of a succession of high-profile MoD objections to turbines on the grounds of radar interference, leading developers warned they could be forced to scrap future windfarm plans in the region - at great cost to the local economy - unless the planning climate changes. Representatives of four regional companies, Wind Power Renewables, Mellinsus Renewables, SLP Energy and Enertrag UK, will lobby MPs and officials for less prohibitive planning procedures. ...An MOD spokesman said: "We fully support the government's renewable energy policies and targets, and treat each windfarm case on its merits. Objections are only raised when absolutely necessary, and we will always engage with landowners and developers to try to find solutions to any concerns we may have. "However it is vital that we protect our air defence and air traffic control radar from interference from any development which would unacceptably jeopardise national security or the safe movement of aircraft."
OPPONENTS of a controversial wind-farm development in the county are claiming a victory for democracy following the plan's rejection by local Highland councillors. Caithness Windfarm Information Forum's spokesman Stuart Young yesterday said a strong feeling among local residents against Baillie Wind Farm Ltd's proposals had made a significant difference to the area planning committee's verdict. "We're obviously very pleased with the decision but we're also encouraged by a number of other things," he said. "To have a successful campaign against any wind farm, it has to be led by the people who live there. The groundswell of opinion among local residents against the proposal is what made the difference." ...Scottish ministers will be notified of the committee's decision and it is likely that a public inquiry will be held into the application. As the development is over 50MW, the final decision lies with Holyrood.
An SNP MSP has expressed concern about the visual impact of wind farm developments in his constituency. Stirling MSP Bruce Crawford said it was vital new developments did not "diminish an area's scenic character". His comments come despite the Scottish Government's much publicised support for wind-generated energy. Stirling Council has given the go-ahead for three wind farm projects across the local area. A forth is currently being considered. At present the district hosts a prominent 36-turbine wind farm at Braes of Doune and an almost completed 15-turbine development at Earlsburn.
BRENT Knoll villagers and councillors were celebrating today (Tuesday) after learning the appeal bid to build a wind farm near the Knoll has been turned down. Renewable energy company Ecotricity lodged the appeal after Sedgemoor District Council originally rejected plans to construct five wind turbines at land at Inner Farm in Edithmead. A two-week long public inquiry began in November and a decision was finally reached yesterday as the Weekly News went to press. Deputy mayor, Cllr Neville Jones speaking on behalf of Burnham and Highbridge town council said he was "extremely pleased" with the outcome and was glad the planning inspector agreed with the authority's viewpoint.
This Appeal Decision prepared by Robin Brooks BA (Hons) MRTPI an Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government provides detailed arguments on why the appeal was denied. Several categories of interest are covered including these main issues:
A CONTROVERSIAL wind farm site near Brent Knoll has been refused by the planning inspectorate. The controversial plans to build five wind turbines at a site off Stoddens Lane was rejected by planning inspector Robin Brooks today (Tues). ...Proposals for the five turbines were first rejected by Sedgemoor District Council, but then the company decide to appeal the decision.
A plan to ensure communities in Alnwick district benefit financially if wind farms are built was given the green light this week, amid claims of blackmail. Alnwick District Council backed a framework to make sure funding from developers is directed to areas most affected. ...If approved, developer npower renewables pledges to contribute £1.3million to a community fund over the 25-year lifespan of the plant. Committee vice-chairman Coun Hugh Philipson said: "I don't like blackmail and in my opinion this is a form of blackmail." Paul Gee, the council's director of environment and regeneration, said: "This has nothing to do with blackmail and buying planning permission but is about us being ready and prepared if a wind farm is approved. "This is about us being in a position of strength rather than on the back foot."
But Ian Bailey, chairman of Elvington Parish Council said he was very worried about the prospect of wind turbines in the village. He said: "I'm extremely concerned that there is the possibility of a wind farm being located only 300 metres away from a residential area and in particular because these wind farms have generators that are 90 metres high which is almost the height of Big Ben." Coun Bailey said he had been to see the wind turbines at Loftsome Bridge and described them as "horrendous". But he added that there are very few homes at that site, whereas in Elvington the turbines would be visible from hundreds of homes.
Yesterday airport head of planning and corporate affairs Graeme Mason said he would be asking Ministers to ‘call in' the application and hold a public inquiry because of the unresolved safety concerns. Site owner Hainsford Energy wants to replace the existing nine turbines at Blyth Harbour with the seven much bigger and more powerful machines to create a facility capable of powering 11,600 homes. Approval was granted by Wansbeck's regulatory committee on Tuesday night, despite a last-minute plea by Newcastle Airport that it would be ‘quite wrong' to give the scheme the green light. The new turbines will be built along Blyth's East Pier and at Battleship Wharf near Cambois. Yesterday Mr Mason said: "I have already been in contact with Government Office for the North-East to formally request that the application is called in by the Secretary of State. It is looking increasingly likely that we will be arguing this issue at a public inquiry.