Item 11 - Application DC/838/06/WOL – Moody Lane (Novartis Site) Grimsby

Additional information relating to the application had been circulated to Members at the commencement of the meeting. Mr. Wallis commented that the application related to the erection of 3 wind turbines on Moody Lane Grimsby (Novartis Site), the application also included the construction of an access road. He added that the final specification for the proposed turbines had not yet been agreed. Each of the turbines could have a total height of 102mto tip of blades, and each turbine should produce 2.0 megawatts. The turbines would provide 25% of the energy needs for Novartis. He added that the area of land to the east of the turbines had previously been land which had been set aside under a S106 agreement for high tide roosting birds in connection with a previous built out application. The proposal now was that this land and adjacent land was to be managed for wildlife but to discourage bird usage as required by the Habitat Regulations the Council had completed an Appropriate Assessment which had shown that the turbines would be likely to have an adverse effect on the integrity of the Humber Estuary Special Protection Area and as there was no overriding public interest in approving the turbines in this position the development is recommended for refusal.. He further added that there were both local and national policies to protect the wildlife around the Humber Estuary. Concerns about the wildlife affected by this application had been received from Natural England, Healing and Great Coates Parish Councils, RSPB and the Council’s ecology officer. Mr. Page from Natural England, an objector, spoke against the application. He commented on the two pieces of legislation applicable to the application. The Conservation (Natural Habitats Regulations 1994 - Better known as the Habitats Regulations protect internationally important sites (SPA, Ramsar, SAC). The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) – Protect the nationally important sites (SSSI). He outlined the statutory framework which the Council would need to consider. He further detailed the concerns that had been raised by Natural England regarding the application. He also commented on the Environmental Assessment which the Council had prepared, he felt that the document wasn’t robust enough to deal with the effects on the Estuary. Mr Wallace from Novartis and Mr Lowther spoke in support of the application. Mr Wallace outlined to the Committee the issues and facts relating to the application. He explained that significant work had been undertaken by the applicant’s in looking to all the environmental and ecology issues. He also added that he also did not feel that the ecological assessment was sufficient. He commented on the benefits that the turbines would have on the local environment in reductions in emissions and the company’s carbon footprint. He also added that there had been no objections from the general public. Mr Lowther added additional information relating to his experience and knowledge in the ecological environment. He detailed the amount of work that the applicant’s had already undertaken with regard to the application. He also disagreed with the Councils ecological assessment as he felt that it had not looked in enough detail into the affects on the wildlife. He further added that in his opinion the wind turbines would not have any significant affect on the ecology and habitats of the area. Mr. Maughan explained to the Members that it was a complex issue for them to deicide. He added that the regulations were clear in that permission could only be granted if it was felt that the habitats would not be affected by the turbines alone or in combination with other approved projects. Mr Wallis added that the Council had produced an Appropriate Assessment as required and whilst Natural England and Novartis felt the Assessment was not entirely robust in all respects. The assessment had shown that there would be an adverse affect on the area, and additional work looking at more in combination effects would only be likely to prove this further. Councillor Little said that it was important to protect the birds in the area, and that an alternative site would be better. Councillor Colebrook commented that the turbines would have an adverse effect on the ecology of the area. He moved that the application should be refused. Councillor Mills seconded this. He added while he congratulated Novartis in looking at renewal energy sources, unfortunately the turbines would have an adverse effect on the ecology of the area. Councillor Burnett felt that it was important to protect the SSSI area and should be refused. Councillor P. Barker agreed and said that an alternative site should be looked at. Councillor Parkinson raised concerns that there seem to be differing views from the experts on whether there would in fact be any affects on the habitats. He felt that further work should be done on the ecological assessment before the Committee determined the application. Councillor Shaw raised concerns over the robustness of the Councils’ assessment; he felt that he need further information before he could make a decision on the application.

RESOLVED – That planning permission be refused for the reasons detailed in the attached appendix.

(Note - the Committee voted 7 - 3 to refuse planning permission)