Consultation under way for Fenland wind farm project

A photomontage provided by Vattenfall of the potential view of the wind farm from Tattershall castle looking towards Lincoln Cathedral. EMN-150618-174819001
A photomontage provided by Vattenfall of the potential view of the wind farm from Tattershall castle looking towards Lincoln Cathedral. EMN-150618-174819001

A six-week public consultation exercise is under way on a proposed 20-turbine wind 
farm.

Vattenfall, the Swedish developer behind the Nocton Fen Wind Energy Project, is sharing results of its assessment and design work, potential environmental effects and measures to reduce their impact, before a final submission to the Planning Inspectorate in 2016.

Graham Davey, Vattenfall’s project manager for the Nocton Fen Wind Energy Project, said the firm has been listening to local people over the last 18 months and made significant changes, including reducing the number of turbines from 23 to 20. However, they will be among the tallest in the country, standing at 149.5m, to maximise efficiency.

He said about 200 people visited the first two exhibition days at Bardney and Nocton. The project team were in Potterhanworth last Saturday and in village halls at Metheringham today (Thursday) 2-8pm, Dunston on Friday 2-8pm and Branston on Saturday 10am-4pm.

Mr Davey said: “We will then assess all the feedback we have received and continue to shape the project ahead of an application next year.”

Melvin Grosvenor, spokesman for local opposition group PNF, said they have raised the matter with all Lincolnshire MPs, adding: “People are even more convinced that it is the wrong development in the wrong place.”

He said, in light of new photo montages released by the company, impacts on the landscape would be ‘absolutely monumental’.

Mr Grosvenor said the development was unjustified as the country was already on course to meet its wind power generation targets.

He said: “They will be visible from the Fulbeck area, Hemswell Cliff, across the Wolds to Horncastle and from Heckington Fen.” He added that views from the Wolds towards Lincoln Cathedral may also be affected.

Through to July 20, local residents can consider the proposal in detail and provide feedback in advance of Vattenfall preparing its application.

There is also a chance to get involved in discussions about the proposed package of community benefits allied to the scheme.

Although North Kesteven District Council will have no decision–making role in respect of any application Vattenfall ultimately makes, it does have a duty in ensuring the company carries out a comprehensive community consultation and enables the widest possible public access.

To assist in this pre-application consultation, the council is hosting a copy of all of the documents at the District Council offices in Sleaford, and they are also at the parish offices in Heighington and Washingborough, libraries in Metheringham and Branston and Dunston village hall.

They can also be found in a number of other places including the County Council offices in Lincoln, and places in Bardney, Woodhall Spa, Fiskerton and Newark.

All information is also available on the project website www.vattenfall.co.uk/noctonfen

An NKDC spokesman said: “As and when Vattenfall makes an application for a Development Consent Order, it will be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for determination, not NKDC, as it is a Nationally Significantly Infrastructure Project (NSIP)

“This is a pre-application consultation and all responses to the consultation documents must be made directly back to Vattenfall.

“The district council has no statutory role in this process, but has given recommendations to Vattenfall as to how it should carry out this community consultation.”

Once Vattenfall has completed its formal period of pre-consultation, it will continue to prepare documents for its Development Consent Order application, anticipated to be made around mid January 2016.