We were GOBSMACKED to find out that Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has, by a subtle mix of revision and omission, banned wind turbines over 20 m high in the Borough. They have done this without consultant and without debate. The ban affects the entire Borough area (public and private land).
They have done this by introducing a subtle amendment to the Local Plan. The Plan is being examined by an inspector, Mr Mike Fox, so we urge all our supporters to contact him. The enquiry into the Local Plan is ongoing, and Mr. Fox is scheduled to reach environment issues on 10th November. A representative from BTN will be speaking on that day, but won’t have time to cover all the issues, so we need YOU to WRITE to criticise the exclusion of wind turbines.
Unfortunately we have been told that the address previously published on this website should not be used, as the deadline has passed for new public input to the enquiry. We understand that there will be an opportunity to comment during the statutory six weeks public consultation on main modifications to the Plan, details of which will be published by the Council in due course.
Meanwhile you can write to your Borough Councillor – see http://www.basingstoke.gov.uk/mycouncillor to find contact details. It was made clear by the Bullington Cross planning decision that councillors don’t realise the support for wind farms that exists in their constituencies.
The specific new clause about wind turbines is in this document:
clauses 20.3.4 to 20.3.8. The Council has taken advantage of a Written Ministerial Statement (WMS) by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, which says that local people should have the final say on wind farm applications. The WMS gives two grounds on which planning permission CAN be granted: that the proposed turbine(s) is in an area “identified as suitable for wind energy development in a local or neighbourhood plan”, and that the proposal has the backing of the affected local communities.
The Council clearly and correctly says that whether a wind turbine proposal has the backing of the local community is a matter for the judgement of the planning authority. Where it seems to want to ban wind turbines altogether is via the first ground, simply by omitting from the Local Plan (topmost document in the list on this link) any specification of areas in the Borough that are “suitable for wind energy development”. A March 2010 study by AECOM, commissioned by the Council, shows that Basingstoke and Deane has “significant potential” for both medium-scale and large-scale wind energy development. This study shows these areas (and specifically excludes the areas of outstanding natural beauty in the borough). The Local Plan cites this document but doesn’t SPECIFICALLY say that all, or a named subset of, the areas mentioned in it are suitable for wind energy development. Hence the Council can be challenged because it has effectively refused to identify suitable areas for wind energy development in its Local Plan.