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‘We cannot agree to unrestricted large scale commercial wind farm developments’ writes leader of Lincolnshire County Council Martin Hill

Government plans for onshore wind farms may be “met with some resistance in Lincolnshire” writes Martin Hill, leader of Lincolnshire County Council, in this month’s column. He writes:

The county council is committed to achieving net zero before 2050, however it is also vital we do not lose sight of our duty to protect the landscape and heritage of Lincolnshire.

The government has announced plans to streamline planning rules for onshore wind projects – as long as they’re supported by local communities.

Councillor Martin Hill (Con), leader of Lincolnshire County Council
Councillor Martin Hill (Con), leader of Lincolnshire County Council

But I believe the proposed change will be met with some resistance in Lincolnshire.

As a council we are leading the way with a commitment to cut our emissions by 68 per cent by 2025 – five years earlier than the UK Government’s plan.

We have a responsibility to protect our heritage and landscape. Therefore, we cannot agree to unrestricted large scale commercial wind farm developments on county land.

The same caution must be used by the government when they consider large-scale solar developments.

But our concerns are not just due to Lincolnshire’s countryside and scenery.

Lincolnshire plays a key role in feeding the nation and for future food security, so we do not want to see good quality agricultural land used in this way.

We have a very clear view that land in our county suitable for growing food should predominantly be used in that way. That’s why we had an onshore wind farm position statement. I don’t think anything has changed.

But, as there is also considerable public concern over meeting our future energy requirements, it is vital that we have a secure and reliable mix of energy generation in this county.

The county council believes there are better ways to achieve carbon net zero, such as:

- Making sure all new build residential homes are low carbon and have reduced energy costs;

- Better use of solar panels on homes and brownfield or lower grade agricultural sites before any good quality land is used;

- Installing solar panels on our industrial buildings;

- Using new technologies such as hydrogen, anaerobic digestion, battery storage and carbon capture and supporting the use of any clean technology;

- Supporting and facilitating the Offshore wind sector including the newly announced Round 4 licences.

There are so many possibilities and ways to reduce our carbon emissions that don’t involve blighting our landscape, which our communities have told us many times before – they just don’t want.

In other matters, I was delighted to see the completion of the refurbishment and new training facility at Grantham fire station. We continue to invest in the safety and well-being of our firefighters and this project has been just one example of that.

Lincolnshire County Council’s £1.3m investment has seen the modernisation of the station, in Harlaxton Road, along with a new training complex and breathing apparatus workshop.

The superb new training facility has been named in memory of a former crew manager at Grantham, Pete Scarlett, who died unexpectedly in July 2020.

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