Thank-you to everyone who took the trouble to write a response to the Core Strategy consultation on wind turbine separation distances. We’re really pleased with the results – the huge volume of responses even took the Planning Inspector by surprise, and it took a couple of weeks for council officers to process them all and upload them to the Wiltshire Council website.
Analysis of responses
The result was a fantastic endorsement of wind power in Wiltshire - more than 600 people said they thought separation distances were unfair and not based on sound evidence. Unlike respondents who supported Wiltshire Council’s amendment, those in favour of clean energy were spread across the length and breadth of Wiltshire – with the largest numbers of individual responses coming from Bradford-on-Avon, Marlborough, Salisbury, Calne, Pewsey, Chippenham and Corsham.
Local community groups also responded collectively to the consultation, representing thousands of local people in support of renewable energy. These included submissions from the Wiltshire Federation of WIs (Women’s Institutes) and the CPRE (Campaign for the Protection of Rural England.)
On the other hand, the vast majority of responses favouring separation distances came from addresses within a 5km diameter of the county’s only proposed wind farm at West Ashton, which has yet to be submitted for planning.
The consultation also attracted attention from across the UK from over 200 individuals and groups concerned that if the amendment were to stand, it would set a dangerous planning policy precedent, which might be followed by other councils.
What happens now?
The huge number of responses has caused the Planning Inspector to revise his schedule, and he has told us he now expects to hold the ‘pre-hearing meeting’ in January, which suggests that the Public Examination won’t take place before February at the earliest.
We will also be passing on all our feedback from the campaign to Wiltshire councillors indue course.
A Wiltshire Clean Energy Alliance Facebook page is under development in order to keep the debate going, and we will circulate details in due course. You can also keep up to date through the website www.wiltshirecea.org.uk and follow us on Twitter @wiltshirecea.
Sophy, Mike, Jack, Chris, Rowena, Nick and ffinlo