Parish Councillors Attending: Ian Reynolds, Steve Smowton, Mike Russell, Charles Forbes Adams, Pete Skilbeck, Gina Mannix
Apologies from: Brian Foster, Bill Reader, John Reader
Members of the Public Attending: David Ashton (County Councillor, NYCC), Liz Casling (District Councillor, SDC) 7 members of the public
Steve Smowton opened the meeting stating that it had been called to discuss two planning applications that had been submitted to SDC. The first application was concerning a monitoring mast and the second was for two wind turbines. Both these applications had been submitted by EON and were planned to be positioned on Escrick Park Estate.
Due to the fact that the company Ian Reynolds (Chair of EPC) works for has a business interest with Escrick Park Estate, Steve Smowton (Deputy Chair of EPC) took the Chair for the meeting. The parish council members and visitors were asked if Charles Forbes Adams the landowner could remain in the meeting. There were no objections.
Three letters had been received by EPC from Skipwith Parish Council
Leaflets Distributed around the village
Meeting was declared open to the public. Steve Smowton said that the meeting had been called to get to know the views from the community.
Liz Casling added that SDC would accept letters up to 18th January for the first application and to the end of January for the second. She had just come from a meeting in Riccall of SCRAP and said they had a lot of support.
One member of the public felt it would be an eyesore. Another said that it would be visible 1km from his front window. Mr Ashton had spoken to the Chief Planning Officer at County Hall who said that Selby had had a flood of applications. Harrogate had only had one which they have turned down. He assumed that the siting of this was because there was a willing landowner. In his view, Selby Planning would not deal with this within the month, giving us more time than envisaged. There should be an on-site meeting and he hoped the EPC would not make a decision tonight. There was concern about the effect of Flicker from the blade. Reports say that it can affect people up to 2km away. Ian Reynolds said that the report with the planning application disputed this and that it affected an area up to 600m.
It was also mentioned that these turbines were almost as high as the cooling towers at Drax and were higher than York Minster.
The report prepared for EON states that a decibel level of 35 would radiate overland to the edge of Escrick Parish. Certain visitors were concerned that the report put forward to planning had been prepared on behalf of EON. It was stated that this was common practise on planning application.
One member of the public said that in his experience he had come across noise at 7 miles away from a wind turbine.
Liz Casling said that noise not only came overland but also through the ground and this should also be considered.
There was widespread concern that we needed evidence as there was no foundation for some of the arguments against this application.
Ian Reynolds had an Extract from RICS 4/11/04 (Appendix 9) which stated that the negative impact diminishes as time goes by. It also said it was too early to say that wind farms were a threat to homeowners.
Steve Smowton stated that we have an SSSI in the area (Skipwith Common).
Liz Casling is to find out why SDC do not want an Environmental Assessment.
One member of the public said that wild geese and swans fly directly over the proposed site from Wheldrake Ings to Fairburn Ings.
EON has applied for two turbines. Mr Forbes Adams stated that there was no room for any more in this location.
They have a 24 year life and the lease is for 30 years.
EON has stated that the road access to the sight may need widening and a few branches cut back. Mrs Mannix expressed concern at the number of vehicles proposing to go down this track. Also she did not feel it was possible to get the vast trailers carrying the turbine parts (up to 41m long) into the site without major junction improvements to the already busy A19 trunk road. Mr Forbes Adams said that EON would not have got this far with the proposal if it were not possible. His view was that some hedgerows may need to be taken out by the entrance.
Steve Smowton commented that this has been labelled as a Community Project but so far the community has disowned it. Mr Forbes Adams informed the meeting that the land is owned by Skipwith Trust Estate, which will receive half the rent with the other half going towards a community fund. Mr Forbes Adams believes that this will be set up as a small trust, accountable to distribute funds on an annual basis to projects within the local community - not just Skipwith. The amount of money received will vary annually depending upon the electricity generated. The final details have still to be negotiated by Mr Forbes Adams and EON.
It was felt by certain members of the public and the Parish Council that the application could have been dealt with better by EON; instead it seemed as if it was being rushed through.
One member of the public felt that this application had been put forward in an underhanded way. Mr Forbes Adams objected to this, stating that there had been exhibitions in North Duffield and Skipwith. He had been approached by an employee on behalf of Skipwith and North Duffield Playing Fields Association (PFA) to put this application forward. It was not true that this persond was acting on behalf of the Estate, and the application had driven a wedge between the PFA and Skipwith Parish Council.
Ian Reynolds stated that the minutes for the EPC were available on the website for anyone to access if they wanted to check the correspondence with Powergen or EON.
It was stated that more people may have been in favour of the proposal if it hadnít been put forward in what was perceived to be an underhanded way.
Actions for Escrick Parish Council
It was felt that any site meeting should take in the view from Approach Farm and the houses at the Hollicarrs.
The meeting was closed to the public.
Four objections had been received by the Parish Council regarding the wind turbine proposal.
EPC felt that they needed to decide on whether to raise any objections to the first application (the monitoring mast) as the next PC meeting on 17th January would be too late. The opinion was that the monitoring mast was acceptable.
The second application needed to be discussed further and it was proposed that the January Meeting be put back a week until after the EON Meeting, so that all the relevant information could be taken into account.
The meeting was closed.