The last definite news we had on the proposed Fulbeck Airfield wind turbines was back in February 2015 at Energiekontor’s exhibition at Stubton village hall. We were told then that the planning application would be submitted to South Kesteven District Council “within 6 weeks.” Since then? NOTHING….
There are several possible reasons for this delay. First and foremost, in March the RWE proposal for 5 turbines at Hough Grange (Temple Hill) was decisively turned down by the South Kesteven planners. Since this site is only a couple of miles from Fulbeck Airfield, it is likely that the same response would be given to the Energiekontor proposal. Twice the number of turbines, and potentially visible from even further away because of the lie of the land, it is extremely unlikely that the council would look more favourably on this application. Of course, it is possible that RWE will appeal; they have until September to do so. The clock is ticking…But there are other factors at work which might possibly explain the silence on both of these proposals.
The Conservatives winning the election, and achieving a parliamentary majority, is a major factor. Of all the larger parties at Westminster the Conservatives were the only ones before the election openly stating that on–‐shore wind was too heavily subsidized. That and the general unpopularity of wind farms wherever they are proposed led the Conservatives to make a pre-election pledge to curb onshore wind development. Of course we can’t always trust what politicians say…
Only this time, maybe we can! In June 2015 the Energy secretary announced the plan to implement a substantial reduction in subsidies, starting in April 2016. This will affect any proposal that does not already have planning permission. Both the Hough Grange and Fulbeck Airfield turbines will immediately become much less attractive to the developers. At the same time, proposals to give more say to local communities to oppose unpopular schemes in their area were announced. Both RWE and Energiekontor may be seriously concerned as to whether it is worthwhile to keep trying in our area, given the extent of local opposition.
We cannot be sure that these proposals are really just going to go away; time will tell. As soon as there is anything more to report, we will let you know. For now, all we can say is “NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS”.
Celia Derbyshire, local spokesperson for VETO campaign.