New planning document will strike right balance on Renewable Energy

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With growing interest from energy companies looking to develop renewable energy projects, North Lincolnshire Council has produced some planning guidelines that will ensure our natural landscape is protected.

North Lincolnshire is on the cusp of becoming the renewable energy capital of Europe and has already met its target to produce energy from renewable sources.

In recent years, the area has attracted significant interest from energy companies looking to develop renewable energy in the area.

The South Humber Gateway (SHG) is strategically placed to take advantage of its location, close to the North Sea and where the Government has identified three large areas for offshore wind energy developments that will take place over the next decade.

To meet this interest, there are plans by Able UK to develop a Marine Energy Park on the SHG, creating 5,000 jobs. And this looks set to become an international centre for the manufacture and assembly of wind turbines for the rapidly expanding off-shore wind sector.

Further renewable energy schemes are being proposed including the Heron Biomass Energy Plant and the Abengoa bioethanol plant.

The renewable energy draft document (referred to as a supplementary planning document) sets out the council’s approach to planning renewable energy projects. It aims to promote the development of renewable energy technology in those locations that have the capacity to accommodate such a development without it having an adverse affect on the natural and built environment. It also aims to provide guidance for developers in preparing planning applications.

It is currently envisaged that the public will be able to comment on the content of this document later this year, around September/October time.

Cllr Rob Waltham, cabinet member for adult and children’s services, said:

“We need to ensure that we get the balance right in terms of welcoming renewable energy developments in the right places. But at the same time consider the impact on local communities and ensure that we protect our natural landscape.

“With existing and ongoing plans, North Lincolnshire is set to more than meet its target to produce energy from renewable sources. In fact it will be one of the few authorities in the Yorkshire and Humber region to achieve this.

“However it is vital that we do not surrender our landscapes and environment. We want to ensure that we protect areas such as the Lincolnshire Wolds area of outstanding natural beauty and we are currently in discussions with Lincolnshire County Council to look at incorporating land up to the Humber Estuary as part of this designation. “

Cllr Elaine Marper, lead member for adult and children’s services, said:

“It is important that areas of high landscape value are protected such as those around Burton and Flixborough.

“The policy will be invaluable to communities, developers and the council, as it will set a clear position to developers that when communities provide valid objections on landscape grounds; they should and must be listened to.

“I’m confident that we can meet sensible proposals for renewable energy without compromising our landscape.”