Wind farm approved for Lincolnshire fenland

Wind farm
Image caption The project will produce enough energy to power 40,000 homes

One of the largest onshore wind farms in England has been approved for Lincolnshire.

Plans for 22 turbines at Heckington Fen near Sleaford have been approved by the Secretary of State for Energy, four years after the project was proposed.

The firm behind the scheme, Ecotricity, said it will produce enough energy each year to power almost 40,000 homes.

North Kesteven District Councillors objected to the plans because of concerns over noise and visual impact.

Ecotricity founder Dale Vince said: "It is very rewarding for everyone here at Ecotricity… it has been four years in planning and is a huge piece of work. It is great to have it upheld by the Secretary of State."

Increased traffic

He said the farm will not have a huge visual impact.

"Even on a flat landscape - once you get say five kilometres away, you will find even a hedge or tree will obscure the view," Mr Vince said.

Although planning officers recommended the wind farm should be approved, district councillors voted against the application in January 2012.

They said they were concerned about its effect on the fenland landscape, increased traffic and the loss of prime agricultural land.

'Cumulative effect'

Mr Vince said: "We had no objections from any of the statutory consultees such as English Heritage, RSPB or Natural England.

"That's quite rare and a sign of what a strong project this is."

But the leader of Lincolnshire County Council, Martin Hill, said many local people will be disappointed, and it was vital the number of wind farms was kept under control.

"I think one of the issues is that there is already a wind farm at Bicker which, although it is in a different local council area, is pretty close to Heckington.

"So there is an issue that the county council has got where we are not saying no to every wind farm but there is an issue where we need to be looking at a cumulative effect because we don't want a forest of them."

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