Andrew Fane, Chairman of Suffolk Preservation Society (SPS) and Supporter of SEAS comments in the SPS Autumn Magazine 'Suffolk View'. Andrew expresses his concern that unchecked planning and development risks a diminution of our countryside and the erosion of the essential qualities of Suffolk. Ill-conceived land-grabs across unique biodiverse countryside for onshore wind energy substations, over zealous investors in mass housing and rapacious chicken farming could be the tipping point for this county.
“One of the things that informed pressure groups like SPS must strive to do is engage with our politicians and seek to persuade them to lower the temperature on planning and on development. We are doing just that for Suffolk wherever we can.
We advise politicians that using many more consents than our builders can deliver in a limited timescale means wrong consents being issued in the wrong locations. We point out that Suffolk doesn’t have to be the conduit of choice for a wholly disproportionate percentage of national energy being channelled through some of our AONBS and delicate historic landscapes. We say that Suffolk doesn’t have to produce such a percentage of the national chicken supply that prime land is vanishing under industrial scale chicken sheds.
Frankly, we are saying spread the pain about a bit – send the green power by ring main direct to the Thames Estuary where it is wanted - that is established technology. Let planners only allocate housing according to demonstrable local needs, not as a magnet for second rate mass housing in the wrong locations. Let road builders accept a degree of overcrowding on our major roads to discourage needless journeys and then improve our rail infrastructure. And finally design everything better, be it house or substation, so that they are not an automatic blight…”
The Secretary of State has granted a three month extension to the Examination.
During the recent development consent order hearings (DCO), the Suffolk Energy Action Solutions group (SEAS) brought to the attention of the inspectors the fact that Scottish Power Renewables (SPR) are using “gagging” clauses in their agreements with landowners involved in the planning process for their offshore wind farms, EA1N and EA2. These clauses offer financial incentives to individuals and groups to withdraw objections and/or desist from objecting to their plans. There can be no justification for making payments or imposing conditions which undermine a statutory planning inquiry conducted in accordance with public law principles.