Campaigners have won their four-year battle to stop a wind farm being built at West Pinchbeck.
The words “We Have Won!” next to a picture of two filled champagne glasses appeared on the Stop West Pinchbeck Wind Farm website after South Holland District Council (SHDC) ruled the Wind Ventures Ltd application had run out of time for an appeal against non-determination.
I think the fact that our overwhelming emotion is relief is probably an indication of how much we have been affected just by the threat of this terrible development, and over a prolonged period.Campaigner Sue Blake
This means the application is dead in the water.
Leading campaigner Tony Fear said: “We are of course delighted even though it does feel a little bit odd that it just fizzled out in this way.
“The real good news is that there can be no appeal so it is genuine closure.”
The wind farm, with its nine turbines measuring 126m to the tip, would have been sited on Fen Farm, South Fen – a site known as The Delph – and sandwiched between two nature reserves.
Sue Blake, from the campaign group, said: “I think the fact that our overwhelming emotion is relief is probably an indication of how much we have been affected just by the threat of this terrible development, and over a prolonged period.”
South Holland and The Deepings MP John Hayes joined the battle at West Pinchbeck and in April, 2014 he said the Conservatives were devising a policy to scrap subsidies for onshore wind farms.
The former energy minister said then that “the threat of onshore wind will be removed with the subsidies”.
Mr Hayes also said residents would get the final say on wind farm applications.
Wind farm victim Jane Davis, who was forced to quit her Deeping St Nicholas home through turbine noise, this week highlighted the timing of the news on The Delph application as the Bill honouring the pledges to end public subsidies and to give residents the final say had its third reading in the House of Commons.
Mrs Davis said: “The end of this application removes a severe threat to residential amenity, health and wildlife in the surrounding area.
“My husband (Julian) and I are very pleased with the decision by SHDC to ‘time out’ the application.
“This was a correct decision given the wishes of the local people in the area, and the emerging knowledge of the significant ways that noise pollution, particularly low frequency industrial noise pollution can impact on people’s health.
“From a personal perspective we ran a very high risk of having a relative’s home significantly impacted upon, something we were dreading, and it would also have impacted on many friends as well. There is perhaps an irony that this application has been terminated ten years exactly after Deeping St Nicholas Wind farm started construction.
“Given the proximity to Willow Tree Fen nature reserve this application would have caused immeasurable harm to birdlife in particular.
“Visually the development would have further impacted on the locality which already has windfarms visible at Bicker, Deeping St Nicholas, Thorney and other small projects, with the likelihood of ever larger turbines being placed at Heckington Fen in the foreseeable future. The area is known for its cloudscapes and wide skies and this would have been damaged irreparably.
“Finally the proposed project was insignificant in terms of national energy production and would not have helped keep the lights on.”
By 2014, Stop West Pinchbeck Wind Farm campaigners had already spent £5,000 fighting the proposal for The Delph.
One strand of the fight involved demanding Wind Ventures carry out a new bird survey after the campaigners’ expert found flaws in the way data was collected.
Sue Blake said this week it is more than four years since residents heard of the proposal.
She said: “Believe it or not the developer failed to identify that the proposed site was adjacent to two nature reserves and therefore wholly inappropriate for an industrial scale wind farm, which is why it received vehement objections from Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust.
“At a ‘standing room only’ community meeting in July 2012 the developer was faced with unanimous objections from the local community. They chose to ignore all of this opposition, refusing to see that the there was no way to satisfactorily address the negative impacts, not least the impact of things like noise on nearby residents.
“We are delighted that recent changes in Government policy means that it is now much more difficult for developers to get planning permission for onshore wind farms not least because the concerns of the local community must be taken seriously, something which Wind Ventures failed to do from the outset. If they had they could have saved everyone, including themselves, a huge amount of needless stress, time and money.”