Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Vattenfall - preliminary environmental information

Swedish developer showcases Nocton Fen wind farm

'An artist impression has been released of a proposed 20-turbine wind farm in Lincolnshire.'

Preliminary Environmental Information

Vattenfall has now published a mass of information on its website.

For the people of Nocton, if you read nothing else, may I recommend you select the document 'Viewpoint 14 B1188 towards Nocton' and study the visual impact of the wind farm on our village.

The Nocton Conservation Area document adopted in 2008 states:

"In wider landscape views the view of the village is of the roofs of buildings set within trees. The Parish Church spire rises among the trees in views from the west. It is trees that predominate."

I always enjoy returning to our little cottage in Old Ten Row, turning down the B1202 towards Nocton, admiring our village nestling within the green trees and woodland. Having now examined Vattenfall's viewpoint document, the description outlined in the Conservation Area document will no longer be accurate, as the turbines will destroy the visual setting of Nocton and All Saints Church.

I am horrified at how the wind turbines will dominate our lovely village... and will now campaign against this National Infrastructure Project. Hopefully, residents will gain more control over the decision making process if planning decisions are to revert to our local Council.

Government 'to remove big onshore wind farms from the NSIP system'

'Final decisions on planning applications for large onshore wind farms in England could be taken by councils in consultation with local residents rather than by central government, according to media reports.'

Latest update: Queen's Speech 2015

I have studied the Energy Bill and am pleased to see the Government has not reneged on its intention to give local communities the final say on wind farm applications. The relevant extracts are below:

Energy Bill
The purpose of the Bill is to:
  • ensure there will be affordable and reliable energy for businesses and families
  • give the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) the powers it needs to become a robust, independent and effective regulator, and enable it to maximise the economic recovery of oil and gas from UK waters
  • change the law in line with the manifesto commitment to give local communities the final say on wind farm applications
The main benefits of the Bill would be:
  • increasing industry collaboration, driving down costs for consumers and attracting further investment to improve the overall competitiveness of the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS)
  • bringing revenue to the UK contributing to economic growth and creating jobs
  • maximising the economic recovery of offshore oil and gas reserves, prolonging the life of the basin and helping to ensure our energy security
  • ensuring local planning authorities have consenting powers for all onshore wind farms
6.3 Onshore Wind
  • the Bill would make legislative changes to remove the need for the Secretary of State’s consent for any large onshore wind farms (over 50 megawatts)
  • this, in effect, would devolve powers out of Whitehall by transferring the existing consenting powers, in relation to onshore wind, to local planning authorities
  • this will mean that in future the primary decision maker for onshore wind consents in England and Wales will be the local planning authority. These changes will be supported by changes to the national planning policy framework to give effect to the manifesto commitment that local communities should have the final say on planning applications for wind farms
  • these changes would not impact on the planning regime in Scotland and Northern Ireland
  • the commitment to end new subsidy for onshore wind farms will be delivered separately, and the Department of Energy and Climate Change will be announcing measures to deliver this soon.

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