POWER STATIONS: People must stand up and be counted

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Now we all agree this nation needs to produce more power/ energy, but why on earth has this part of our county been singled out as the place to swamp with power stations of one type or another?

By the time the two new generators come on line we will have four, and add to that the wind industrial complexes ( don’t call them farms) we must have one of the highest densities of power plants in the country.

With the latest step forward to double the size of the Spalding power plant Coun Howard Johnson, portfolio holder for economic development, enthuses that it is welcomed by all and infers it will be of great benefit to the area – this is not so.

Magical figures of £500 million to be spent – unfortunately not in Spalding or the surrounding area.

Some 1,500 employed in the construction phase – because of the skills needed almost none of the workers will be local, in fact the only marginal effect will be a little bit of work for one or two local firms such as hotels, B&Bs, etc. Hardly wealth generation.

This week we learn that the proposed biomass energy plant application has been granted and will, I believe, be built somewhere alongside the plant that Sutton Bridge has already been lumbered with, increasing heavy traffic flows by 70 vehicles per day and night.

This equates to 140 as those same vehicles have to leave the premises after discharging. This seems to be perfectly acceptable by planning and highways, although the locals might disagree.

South Holland District Council seems to have a council planning committee so mesmerised by the terms development, affordable, rental, wind and energy that it will pass any application, ignoring potential future long -term problems and taking little notice of objectors whose homes and environment will be adversely effected.

The work of the planning committee is to abide by the current planning regulation under guidance from the planning officers, to implement such developments which will be of value in enhancing the local area and to ignore national agenda which is harmful to our environment.

I am afraid to say the planning committee will make all sorts of agreeable noises to the objectors but will ignore them anyway.

In many cases the council will have obtained large payments under 106 agreements from the developer to use for the benefit of the community at large and in doing so feel they have secured a “reasonably good deal” for the populace.

Then they will spend the next couple of years trying to work out what to do with the money.

To the Pinchbeck, Sutton Bridge and Long Sutton objectors whose views were ignored on various developments, you have the right to approach the planning committee direct with an appointment – they are paid out of the public purse and therefore are public servants and as such must answer to the electorate.

I have recently received from MP John Hayes a letter explaining how the government has introduced a localism act within the planning framework to check unrestricted sprawl of large built up areas, stop neighbouring towns merging, assist in the safeguarding of country encroachment and preserve the special character of historic towns and encourage the use of derelict and urban land.

Sounds wonderful. Unfortunately he didn’t mention the many loopholes which still exist so that much of the new planning act leaks like a sieve.

All of us have the power to make change but this will only happen if people stand up to be counted.

Write to Mr Hayes, expressing anger at the lack of democracy at local level. A thousand letters on the same subject will be impossible to ignore. The change lies with us, the populace.

PJ Wiseman

Holbeach