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Lincolnshire villages take on German energy giant in countryside battle

By East Lindsey Target  |  Posted: June 20, 2012

Triton Knoll

lPOWER SOURCE: Extensive underground cabling is being planned for the Triton Knoll wind farm which would be one of the world's largest.

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A SHOWDOWN is looming between a German energy giant and a cluster of villages between Alford and Skegness.

Representatives of at least eight parish councils were among more than 100 people who attended a public meeting at Willoughby to express their dismay at plans by RWE to use East Lindsey as the transit area for its latest wind power initiative.

Assuming Whitehall approves its proposed 288-turbine Triton Knoll Farm wind farm off the coast of Mablethorpe, the company is considering laying extensive underground cabling across Lincolnshire farmland to an existing substation at Bicker, near Boston.

It prefers this option to laying the cable in The Wash, because the estuary has been deemed sensitive both for environmental reasons and because its supports a livelihood for Boston and King's Lynn fishermen.

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In addition, such cables might conflict with those already laid as part of the already established Centrica wind farm off Skegness.

But at Saturday's meeting, County Councillor for Ingoldmells Rural, Colin Davie, said: "Why should whelks and clams be given priority over the Lincolnshire countryside?"

Mr Davie went on to warn that if East Lindsey District Council should choose to support RWE's onshore cabling proposals, it deserved to be "hanged from the nearest lamp post."

His fellow co-organiser Councillor Angie Smith, ELDC representative for Willoughby with Sloothby, warned that laying the cables onshore would require construction of a "reactive compensation compound" which could mushroom into an unsightly industrial complex that might blight the countryside for many miles around.

She said: "Despite badgering its representatives for two and a half hours at a meeting earlier this month, RWE would not reveal the dimensions of the proposed compound, nor the preferred location."

She added that once in situ, it would be very difficult to halt future expansion.

Mrs Smith said the same company was backing proposed windfarms both in Wainfleet St Mary and Orby marsh, adding: "RWE is gettings its claws in everywhere."

Both councillors urged the public to write letters of opposition to MP for Louth and Horncastle, Sir Peter Tapsell and to the leader of Lincolnshire County Council, Councillor Martin Hill.

Others who spoke at the meeting included John Hutton, of Welton-le-Marsh, who warned against writing a 'NIMBY'-type letter, suggesting that correspondents should instead stress support for The Wash route.

RWE project manager, Jacob Hain, said: "It's important to emphasise that no decision has been made regarding a cable route or what the electrical infrastructure will comprise for the project yet. However, we will continue to update stakeholders and local communities as our studies progress.

"We do appreciate people's views regarding a proposed Wash route. However, having previously carried out consultation with Natural England, the local fishing industry and local ports, as w ell as undertaking a number of environmental appraisals, we have identified that installing offshore cables through the main part of the Wash area is not possible for a number of reasons."

A further public meeting for residents has been organised by Councillor Neil Cooper on June 27 at 7pm Irby and Bratoft village hall, Brambleberry Lane, Irby.

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  • nigelsparky  |  June 23 2012, 9:01PM

    Oh and I forgot to mention the existing development has a planning application in for a further 5 turbines, which goes to show that the minute a development gets passed and constructed the developers WILL try and increase the amount of turbines on that site, so in effect once one turbine is allowed on a site, more will follow for sure.

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  • nigelsparky  |  June 23 2012, 8:54PM

    I can only agree with country girl 71 unless you live in or around the so called "marsh villages" you are not aware of what is happening. I live in one of those villages and at present there are plans for 3 x "wind power stations" totalling 33 turbines in addition to one that was pushed through the planning back door after it was initially refused planning a couple of years ago which has 20 turbines. There is also an offshore development of some 78 turbines with the cabling and substations proposed to be sited just on the edge of our village. Our village is a rural community which if these developments are given the go ahead would mean the landscape would resemble an industrial location. The village is under a real threat of being surrounded by them. The amount of money these "mini power stations" cost runs into hundreds of millions of pounds for what is a very small electricity output. The only winners of these developments are the so called renewable energy companies that have all of a sudden appeared from nowhere, and the landowners. In summary these wind turbines are very inefficient at generating electricity but very efficient at generating vast incomes for all those involved in the developments.

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  • countrygirl71  |  June 23 2012, 6:03PM

    @ Yer_Nemisis - "I've tried to find the bit about building a substation but it's not in the article. Neither is the mention of building any windmills. There is talk of a compound, which to my mind sounds like a fenced off area with some equipment inside. Hardly an industrial waste land, is it?" This just shows you don't have all the details behind this project. And I wouldn't expect you to have them all, as you are right, it is not in this particular article. But the 'people of the marshes' do have the details, and they know that a reactive compensation compound is coming (in National Grids own words , a substation by another name). And when you consider they are usually about 100m x 100m for something handling around just 60MW, there is concern that something handling 1200MW will be far larger. The last substation RWE wanted to put here that would handle 1200MW was 40 acres in size. Thats 28 football pitches to put it in perspective. Again, I'd not expect you to know all this based on the article you are commenting on, just want you to be aware of why others like me are commenting the way we are.

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  • ludaman  |  June 22 2012, 5:31PM

    here here

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  • nigelsparky  |  June 21 2012, 9:18PM

    lol @ nemesis nice one

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  • Yer_Nemesis  |  June 21 2012, 9:06PM

    Nigel, I'm sure you're an intelligent person, so I'm going off on a tangent and suggesting this item to you...... http://tinyurl.com/6q9kfa8 And this IS my final word on this thread.

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  • nigelsparky  |  June 21 2012, 8:50PM

    Nemesis yes you are quite right it's none of my business where you live. My point was, which you seem to have missed, is you chose to live on the flight path of the incoming/outgoing planes. These people have chosen to live in a rural location as it is now! They have their reasons for choosing where they wanted to live just like you. However a company has now decided it wants to change that location forever and force their development upon them, and for who's benefit? Oh yes these nice people are going to earn millions from the development and I wonder who is going to pay for it? Oh yes me, you and everyone else who pay their taxes and uses electricity. Oh I almost forgot these nice people who, not only earning vast amounts of our money, but are saving us from impending doom.

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  • Yer_Nemesis  |  June 21 2012, 6:57PM

    Dear oh dear, how tense some people get about windmills! I've tried to find the bit about building a substation but it's not in the article. Neither is the mention of building any windmills. There is talk of a compound, which to my mind sounds like a fenced off area with some equipment inside. Hardly an industrial waste land, is it? I think it's sad that Colin Davie talks of "...hanged from the nearest lamp post...". An unpleasant, graphic phrase that speaks volumes of how judgement is being clouded in this matter. Nigel, if it's any of your business, I've lived where I do for over forty years. I do hear aircraft flying locally quite a lot and some of them are substantially louder than the passenger jets from Heathrow. But you know what, I don't mind. Whatever your view on our armed services, I'm sure we could agree that the RAF is doing what it does for the benefit of everyone in the country, not just for city or rural dwellers. In the same way, wind-generated electricity is for everyone's use. Unless you disconnect your house from the mains, you are right now using wind-generated electricity, just as I am.

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  • Whiley45  |  June 21 2012, 2:57PM

    We will fight them on the beaches!

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  • nigelsparky  |  June 21 2012, 12:49PM

    Geeezzzz how many silly statements on here just read Yer-Nemesis post " I live in the flight path for one of Lincolnshire's active airfields and I've never complained. Stop wittering, marsh-people and accept your future." And how long have you lived there? This airfield got built after you moved in did it? Most probably not unless you moved into your house before the 2nd world war? I doubt it, which means you chose to live there, knowing the airfiled was there. These people have chosen to live in a rural location, and then someone decides they want to build substations, wind farms which will effectively industrialise the landscape. If people wanted to live next to a substation or whatever then they would have moved next to one, just like you moved next to an active airfield.

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