East Lindsey District Council has written to Secretary of State Eric Pickles over a windfarm ‘call in’ decision and appealed for a review of the Gayton le Marsh decision.
‘Local concerns must be listened to by the government’ – that is the message in a letter to the Secretary of State for Communities from ELDC’s Planning Portfolio Holder in relation to windfarm developments.
East Lindsey currently has three operational windfarms, and one built but not yet operational. A further four have been refused by the Council’s Planning Committee.
Despite this decision, one - at Gayton le Marsh, has subsequently been allowed at appeal by the Government; another two – Orby and Louth Canal are currently going through the appeal process.
An ELDC spokesperson said: “Now, the Secretary of State for Communities, Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP, has ‘called in’ the Orby and Louth Canal appeals which effectively means he will determine the outcome of these applications.”
The council’s Portfolio Holder with responsibility for Planning, Coun Craig Leyland, has written to Mr Pickles expressing his concerns.
He said: “The decision by Central Government to ‘call in’ two windfarm appeals - Orby and Louth Canal, that we have refused as the Local Planning Authority, is viewed as encouraging by local communities who see this as a much needed test of the Planning Inspectorate on such controversial matters.
“There is concern, however, that a previous appeal decision that was allowed at Gayton le Marsh was flawed and that the Planning Inspector did not give enough weight to the protection of the landscape over the need for renewable energy.
“While we have previously asked for a review of this, the new guidance and the Government decision to ‘call in’ both Orby and Louth Canal applications give the issue of Gayton le Marsh more impetus and I would hope that this unpopular decision can be reviewed with the outcome that we think is deserved in this case – the application to be refused.”
In the last three years the council has spent nearly £500,000 fighting wind farm appeals.
Councillor Leyland added: “If the new Department for Communities and Local Government guidance to Local Planning Authorities and the Planning Inspectorate is to mean anything then residents need assurance that No does mean No. If we, as the LPA, make an evidenced decision citing cumulative impact and harm to the landscape as the reasons for refusal then we need assurance that the decision that has been made locally cannot be undone.”