Saxby Wold wind farm firm accuses council of putting millions of pounds' investment at risk
One of the UK's leading renewable energy developers says it is becoming increasingly concerned over recent developments centred around its plans to build a wind farm near Saxby-All-Saints in the Lincolnshire Wolds.
RWE npower renewables are awaiting the outcome of an appeal on a planning application for a wind farm at Saxby Wold, which was refused by North Lincolnshire Council earlier this year at a planning committee meeting in Scunthorpe Civic Centre.
The firm says that if the appeal is successful, the wind farm will create an investment of over £60 million, with up to £15 million of this being directed into the local economy, generating work for over 40 local suppliers, along with training and apprenticeship opportunities for local people.
In addition, it suggests the wind farm will provide a community fund worth over £180,000 every year for its lifetime, for projects that benefit the local community, environment, schools and colleges – in total, more than £4.5 million.
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Under the Government’s localism proposals, business rates from the wind farm, estimated to be worth around £180,000 a year, could also go directly to North Lincolnshire Council, with the potential to reduce council tax bills or provide additional local services.
Taken together, the firm says these represent significant benefits to the local community - not to mention the environmental benefits from the clean, green electricity generated.
But the company notes that, on October 17, North Lincolnshire Council considered a planning application for a major 500 cow dairy unit and two four-bed detached houses on a prime arable farming site near Bonby.
RWE npower renewables say: "The dairy would be situated on prime arable land in an exposed ridge-top location. The volume of slurry and farmyard manure produced by the cows would result in a requirement for some of it to have to be exported away from the site, which would permanently add to traffic movements on presently quiet rural roads.
"The detached homes included within the dairy application are in a green field location.
"Based on previous green field applications, it would be unusual for planning permission to be granted for such homes. Indeed, previous applications for properties on this green field site have been refused before.
"This application is next to the proposed Saxby Wold Wind Farm and because of the strict and responsible guidelines that RWE npower renewables works to, the presence of these houses risks jeopardising the wind farm in its current form. "This means that the considerable benefits that could be created by the wind farm for local businesses, council tax payers and community organisations, risk being significantly delayed or lost completely, if the wind farm doesn’t go ahead.
"Concerns have been further compounded because despite the dairy application being deferred pending further confirmation of increased traffic movements, the application currently has a recommendation for approval.
"It will be considered again at the next planning meeting on November 14.
"This is despite local concerns over noise, traffic, smell and the location of the dairy farm development."
Mike Parker, Head of Onshore Development at RWE npower renewables, added: “ Given the facts of the dairy application and the Council’s publicly stated commitment to renewable energy, we are concerned that by viewing the dairy application in isolation that the Council is putting millions of pounds worth of local investment at risk.
"When the time comes we hope the council will take the right decision for the local economy and the environment.”
Wednesday's meeting of the North Lincolnshire Council planning committee will be in the council chamber at Scunthorpe Civic Centre, off Ashby Road, starting at 2pm. It is open to interested members of the public.