Lincolnshire villages take on German energy giant in countryside battle
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.