As published in the Goole Times:
Heated talks over proposed wind farm
A controversial planning application for another wind farm near Spaldington has been the subject of a heated discussion at a public inquiry.
Howdenshire MP David Davis and East Riding of Yorkshire Ward Councillor Victoria Aitken have both been speaking on behalf of local residents at the inquiry into the River Valley Wind Farm at Welham Bridge.
The planning inquiry which was held in the council’s offices in Church Street, Goole last week, saw heated exchanged between Mr Davis and the renewable energies lawyer David Hardy, who was representing RWE Npower Renewables- the company who are appealing against the ERYC’s refusal to give planning permission for the River Valley wind farm.
Mr Hardy accused local residents of being ‘battled hardened’ and the Conservative Party of ‘blocking wind farms’ and added that Secretary of State for Communities Eric Pickles MP should ‘stop interfering’ in the appeal process.
However Mr Davis hit back at the comments and said that meeting the country’s energy goals should not be used to justify the “wrong development in the wrong location.”
He said that the proposed wind farm would be “too close, too big and too oppressive to the local community” and urged the Planning Inspector John Woolcock to give “serious consideration to local opinion” and insisted that East Yorkshire- particularly the Howden area- had more than its fair share of wind farms either consented or in the pipeline.
The inquiry follows an appeal after ERYC’s unanimous rejection of the RWE’s plans, and its vow to ‘draw a line’ under any further developments within a 10k radius of Spaldington village.
With 44 wind turbines already operating or consented within just over a six-mile radius of Spaldington, the ERYC Planning Committee fully backed local residents who say they are being unfairly targeted by wind farm companies from all sides.
Given evidence at the inquiry, Cllr Victoria Aitken, told the inspector that the number of turbines that local people see in Spaldington equates to three and a half turbines per kilometre.
In England nationally that figure equates to one turbine per every 100 kilometre.
She said: “Government policy never intended that any community should bear such a burden. The UKs 2020 renewable energy target will be achieved without the River Valley Site.
There is neither need nor justification to impose any more renewable energy developments on this small area.
“Local people are concerned about the impact the River Valley development will have on their homes, their livelihood their surroundings, their environment.”
Speaking to the inspector directly, she added: “I know this is your job, wind farm inquiries are your way of life, rooms like this are your natural environment.
“Contrast this with my residents; forced into an alien situation in an attempt to defend their interests, the homes they have invested in during their working lives, the businesses they have built up, their way of life, their local environment, their reasons for choosing to live in a quite country village like Spaldington or Gribthorpe. I ask that you recommend to the Secretary of State that this Appeal is dismissed.”
Residents in Spaldington now must await the decision of the inspector, which could take some weeks.