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‘A group which raised £90,000 to successfully fight two appeals against wind farms in the Vale of Belvoir is gearing up for another battle.
Belvoir Locals Oppose Turbines (BLOT) and Melton Borough Council – which also spent £100,000 at appeal – successfully fought against plans for an eight-turbine wind farm at Normanton, near Bottesford, in 2010.
An appeal by another company for a 10-turbine wind farm less than a mile away two years earlier was also rejected.
The inspector at that appeal said: “This part of the vale is unusually rich in the number of historic assets of the highest grades within it.
“Harm to the historic qualities of the landscape would result of such significant and unacceptable magnitude as to outweigh the electricity generation benefits of this particular scheme in its entirety.”
Speakers against the application at the second public inquiry included Rutland and Melton MP Sir Alan Duncan and Frances, Dowager Duchess of Rutland, the widow of the 10th Duke of Rutland.
Planning inspector Christopher Frost said: “I consider that effects on landscape, heritage and residential amenity are of sufficient moment to justify rejecting this scheme, despite its capacity to contribute towards renewable energy production.”
Now, protesters are fighting plans for six 361ft turbines in the same area, near Normanton.
BLOT campaigner Pandora Mawer said: “We are forced into the ludicrous situation of fighting another application for industrial wind turbines here in the Vale of Belvoir.
“The latest wind farm application is on exactly the same site as the wind farm previously dismissed at appeal in 2008 and less a third of a mile from another wind farm, also dismissed at appeal in 2010.”
She added: “BLOT was professionally represented by a QC and barrister, landscape experts, noise experts and a planning expert, all paid for from the generosity of local donations.
“Not to mention the hundreds of hours of unpaid work undertaken by numerous volunteers and the thousands of pounds spent by two local councils defending their original decisions to refuse.”
She added: ” The previous appeal decisions were dismissed mainly due to the severe impact industrial-sized wind turbines would have on the rich heritage assets and the unacceptable harm imposed on the historic landscape of the beautiful Vale of Belvoir.
“BLOT believe the Sewstern Lane application should be refused on the same grounds. Heritage assets will still be severely impacted.”
Jake Surman, Director at Whirlwind Renewables said:
“Wind energy projects are essential if we are to meet international and national targets to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas contributing to climate change. Onshore wind is the cheapest low carbon generation available and the Sewstern Lane Wind Farm would produce enough electricity to meet the needs of up to 9,658 homes each year, which is equivalent to 6.4% of all households in South Kesteven.’
“We have carried out public consultation on our proposals with the local community and if the scheme is consented, we are committed to establishing a community benefit fund which would provide a guaranteed income of at least £90,000 per annum over 25 years, for local residents to spend on community projects and initiatives.”