COMMUNITIES Secretary Eric Pickles has ‘called in’ the Asfordby Wind Farm appeal.
It means he will now determine whether or not Peel Energy’s project, for nine turbines up to 125m high, goes ahead.
The inspector who has run the appeal will prepare a report for the Secretary of State who will then make the decision.
Melton Council has been told that the scheme is of such significance for the delivery of the Government’s climate change programme and energy policies that it goes beyond local issues. The Secretary of State very rarely involves himself personally in planning decisions.
At the public inquiry held during May, Melton Council and local opposition group STOP, argued that the location is wrong.
The inquiry was suspended on May 29 and will resume on July 19 to allow Network Rail’s concerns to be considered.
Yesterday Mr Pickles made a statement on windfarms like that proposed at Asfordby, He said the Government will issue new planning guidance shortly to set out clearly that:
• the need for renewable energy should not automatically override the environmental concerns of local communities
• decisions should take into account the cumulative impact of wind turbines
• local landscape should be a factor in assessing whether wind turbines have a damaging impact (i.e. recognise that the impact on predominantly flat landscapes
can be as great or greater than as on hilly or mountainous ones)
• great care should be taken to ensure heritage assets are conserved in a manner appropriate to their significance, including the impact of proposals on views important to their setting.
The Secretary of State will receive the inspector’s report in due course and his decision will follow some months later.