Farm turbine is shelved

Farmer Tom Rigby
Farmer Tom Rigby
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A WIGAN farmer has shelved plans to erect a wind turbine on his land amid a gale of opposition.

Tom Rigby’s decision came after last Friday’s Evening Post featured former councillor Edward Houlton who said he would lie down in front of the bulldozers in a bid to thwart the scheme at Johnson’s Farm, off Kenyon Lane, on Lowton.

The news was welcomed by Mr Houlton, although Mr Rigby has not given up on the idea altogether.

The giant propeller was approved by Wigan Council’s planners earlier this month and Mr Rigby said that he would not be intimidated by threats, but decided to delay the plans to hold further talks with his neighbours.

He said: “We are still consulting with local residents about the implementation of our planning consent.

“It still may or may not go ahead. There is still much to consider but we will not be intimidated.

“We had done considerable research on the subject and the conclusion we reached was that installing one on the farm would not adversely affect the wildlife.

“An independent noise assessment concluded that it was five decibels below what was considered the acceptable limit.

“We are pleased the planning committee recognised the important contribution renewable energy can make to keep a small dairy farm sustainable.”

Mr Houlton said he believed his threat helped in some way towards the delay.

He said: “The community got what it was asking for. He didn’t realise the community was so opposed to it and as soon as he found out how upset we were, he decided not to proceed.”

But he added he felt disappointed at the way the decision was approved.

He said: “The application was mentioned at a meeting but was not voted on and I felt the photos of the turbine were misleading as no scales were given.

“It would have been democratic to have a few minutes for us to refute claims that infrasound (impact on sound) did not exist and give our opinion on it.

“I shall be writing a letter to the ombudsman.”

Steve Normington, director of economy, places directorate, said: “The planning application for the wind turbine was determined by Planning Committee when members voted unanimously to grant planning permission having considered a detailed report, asked questions on a number of technical matters and considered the views of the applicant and community representative.

“Information was given on implications of infrasound, which didn’t provide reason to refuse planning permission.”