I went to my first ever South Holland planning meeting (actually it was my first ever district council meeting) and what an experience.
I went with a group of others hoping that the committee would object to plans for the ‘Energy Park’ at Sutton Bridge.
Imagine this. You live in a small village in Lincolnshire near the borders of both Cambridge and Norfolk. They put a huge electricity generator there, and a wind farm. OK, it has to go somewhere and we all want electricity.
Next there are quiet plans to build another much bigger generator as well as the existing one, and yet a third installation, an incinerator. Three huge, ugly generators.
The small population of the village really don’t have much clout. They don’t want them, no one would. They have polls to say they don’t want any more, they already have one and that is enough. They send in petitions. They do what they can. They try to stand up against the overwhelming odds. The feel bullied.
At the meeting several points from the plans were questioned, and thank you to the councillors who did speak out.
If there had been a formal objection to the plans then there could have been a public inquiry, which would have highlighted that three massive generators in one place is very much against Government policy.
It would also have addressed the very disturbing concerns we have about pollution, the monitoring of pollution, noise, traffic, flood plane, unsound ground and for wildlife.
The plans were passed on the premise that the final decision rests with the Department of the Environment.
I have little confidence that the minister or his civil servants will comb through the plans. I think he is entitled to believe that if no objection was raised at the planning committee stage then the plans may be deemed clear and satisfactory.
He will assume that the planning committee have taken care to address the points raised by the people of the village. By passing the plans they showed they had no appetite to support their residents and shame on you.