Is wind farm sailing into new storm?

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Protestors fighting plans for a wind farm claim the developer’s “flawed” data on bird-life could put the project back by at least a year.

The Stop West Pinchbeck Wind Farm group sent an interim report to South Holland District Council after its ecology expert highlighted flaws in the way Wind Ventures Ltd collected ornithology data in support of its bid to site nine, 126m high turbines at The Delph, West Pincheck.

Action group spokesman Tony Fear said: “The errors are so severe it is difficult to see how the planning application can proceed any further, which is why we submitted our report early and before we have had responses from our other experts on noise and landscape.”

The group’s ecology expert, Dr Timothy Reed, says Wind Ventures consistently ignored Natural England’s technical guidance on assessing the effects of onshore wind farms on birds – highlighting errors in the way data was collected and pointing to other required data that wasn’t collected at all.

South Holland District Council last month gave planning consent to Wind Ventures’ “test mast” on the proposed wind farm site, saying it had no planning reasons to refuse it as Natural England – the Government’s own experts – did not object.

But Natural England is objecting to the turbines on wildlife grounds and pressing the council to seek more information from Wind Ventures, including asking why the company departed from Natural England’s survey guidance.

Mr Fear says it’s Government policy that planning consent should not be given until all survey work has been completed.

He said: “That should mean this planning application is going nowhere for at least a year as data has to be collected over a full season.”

l Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, which runs Willow Tree Fen nature reserve, is also objecting to the turbines.