Today the politically controlled Central Lincolnshire Joint Strategic Local Plan committee essentially gave the green light for on-shore wind turbine development in the Lincolnshire countryside as part of a range of planning measures to deliver a carbon zero future.
I think we all support the need for a carbon zero future but this proposal which includes wind turbines is so wrong in so many ways.
Lincolnshire has the huge off shore wind turbine arrays but according to the consultant’s studies there is a need for on-shore generation to meet local need. Currently solar delivers about a third of the anticipated future need for on shore generated while wind turbines produce none.
Which raises the first issue. The goals in our Local Plan have to be deliverable but looking at the track record of wind versus solar I would argue that we can’t be confident that wind will be able to deliver its share of the total within the required timescale, whereas solar has a demonstrable track record of generating the power needed. And coupled to battery storage of power that generated capacity can be available when the solar panels are not producing.
In terms of deliverability it begs the question why aren’t we proposing 100% of our on-shore generation from solar?
The second issue is around land use. Some have objected to the use of farmland for the production of electricity instead of food and obviously solar panels cover a bigger area than wind turbines to generate the same power.

However, I think we need to look at how we are using our finite land resource differently.
Essentially fields capture sunlight to produce food, fibre and fuel to feed and clothe people. But some of our food production does not go into the food chain, for example the growing of maize for AD electricity plants and wheat for ethanol production. So I ask what’s the difference between a field of maize for electricity production and a field of solar panels? In fact, I could argue that solar panels are better for the countryside and the environment because solar panels don’t require the agrochemicals and pesticides needed to grow maize and wheat.

The third issue is diversity. Some people assume that a field full of solar panels is only producing electricity. In fact, if managed sympathetically the land amongst the solar panels can be a valuable space for wildflowers and creating wildlife habitat – doubly valuable in our intensively farmed landscape.
The government proposals to reform the support for farmers to in future include using taxpayer money to take land out of production for one or two years to create space for wildlife, help soils recover and improve water quality. If you think about it, putting solar panels in a field is achieving the same goals – providing habitat, improving soil and water quality – whilst generating electricity, but with the benefit of not requiring taxpayer support.

For these reasons I cannot support the decision made today to give the green light to wind turbines and I do worry that the decision has been made without due comparison between the options and understanding the wider implications and practicalities of imposing commercial-sized wind turbines into our countryside.
To my mind we should be exploring all the alternatives to generate power on a micro and commercial scale whilst doing everything to reduce our energy usage. When, and only when, we have exhausted all the alternatives and we still have an energy deficit, should we consider on-shore wind turbines.

The message from the Central Lincolnshire Strategic Plan meeting yesterday is that if you vote conservative, and if you vote labour, you are supporting a policy of building huge, commercial scale on-shore wind turbines in our countryside as a FIRST option to achieve carbon zero.

That’s why voting Independent matters.                                                                                                                      /Cllr Peter Lundgren, Lincolnshire Independent

Cllr Peter Lundgren
Lincolnshire Independent

Building wind turbines in England, using grants from the UK Government might be attractive to Scottish Power or indeed, other nations.
Lincolnshire has rejected huge turbines at Nocton, Heckington and in West Lindsey, but that position changed this week as a party- political committee for Central Lincolnshire shifted the goalposts to give them a green light in future.
We already have considerable banks of huge Lincolnshire turbines, just offshore and vast numbers more are planned. Not satisfied with this, there is party political pressure from Conservatives and Labour to build more, cheaper, onshore turbines. The modern industrial turbines are huge. The financial viability of these huge structures has decreased, making the need for them to be ever bigger in order to be viable. Lincoln Cathedral is 84m high and the minimum viable height is now almost double at 156m and they prefer and usually get 250m high.

Turbines change the character of the countryside. For example, the current single turbine near the proposed Norton Disney rendering site was given as a reason for giving permission for further industrialisation. We have big applications for 36 big turbines at Nocton and Heckington that have previously been refused. This new policy gives them something of a green light.
The drive is to forever increase “growth”, always increasing consumption and therefore “needing” ever more, ever larger energy sources. The objective should be to be more efficient, using less and more local, innovative solutions, such as roads that make electricity, solar panels over car parks, rooves and walls that look ordinary structures, but make electricity and heat water. Wave power strung between the offshore turbines would create an improved shelter and diverse food source, improving opportunities for our marine life. The government has skewed development of certain renewable energy sources and thus in effect, chosen who to subsidise, but we need that support to go to a wider range of
initiatives, developing so much more opportunity for future generations.
This Government is pushing a “command and control approach to local government and there are worrying proposals ready to emerge after the elections. We have responded to proposals to sweep away local planning as we know it and reduce opportunity for local people to have an effective voice.
We need more Independents to speak and vote for what residents want and need, not a headlong drive to spoiling our countryside.

Cllr Marianne Overton MBE
Lincolnshire Independent

A few references Current UK % energy source renewable or zero carbon
For County Council Motion on Turbines Choose “Order of proceedings”
Central Lincolnshire Strategic Plan meeting papers
The Lincolnshire Independents are Independents in Lincolnshire who speak and vote independently and work together for residents.
This is a network of support, affiliated to the Independent Network
Cllr Marianne Overton Leader text/phone 07920 235 364 @overtonmarianne
Cllr Peter Lundgren 07751 112303
Cllr Nick Byatt, Chairman 07875120904