Scoping Report Available

By stoplenchwickwindfarm | April 2, 2009

ScottishPower Renewables (SPR)  has just made publicly available its Scoping Report for the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) that it has to carry out as part of its planning application for the Lenchwick Windfarm aka Industrial Wind Power Plant.

VVASP has been in receipt of the scoping report for a short while and has submitted a response to Wychavon District Council. We were unable to publish details of it before as it was issued to us in confidence.

Despite ongoing discussion with Wychavon District Council since last October, it has only just been made publicly available by ScottishPower.  The draft scoping report was first submitted in to Wychavon in October last year and has was circulated officially to a range of statutory consultees in late February this year, shortly after which we were forwarded a copy.

It is an unusual document in that, whilst their are no specific guidelines as to what should be included in a scoping document, there are some significant omissions.

In particular turbine locations, view points, and noise measurement locations have been omitted. Whereas scoping reports for other windfarm developments have usually included this information.

Of particular note was Wychavon District Council’s Head of Planning, Gill Collin’s comments during the Development Control Committee meeting discussion on the anemometer mast applications (2nd PAril 2009) where Ms Collin stated “Without knowing where they will be we can’t assess their impact”

At the same meeting Neil Pearce, the planning officer currently handling the windfarm project at Wychavon District Council also stated “We have issued our response to the Scoping Report”

These omissions by SPR are concerning, especially when SPR re-iterated their timescale at the same meeting of submitting a planning application within a few months.

It raises an interesting question as to how the EIA can be carried out properly within the very short timescale that they are proposing, either SPR already know where the turbines are likely to be located, and aren’t prepared to release that information, or their EIA and the subsequent Environmental Statement will have to be ‘rushed’.

Furthermore, it is normal for the council, the statutory consultees, and other parties such as VVASP to have input into the selection of view point and noise measurement locations.

We will have to leave you to draw your own conclusions as to why SPR are so reluctant to release this information.

Despite that fact that the consultation period has ended, SPR officially still currently state:

Environmental Impact Assessment

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is the process by which environmental information is collected, incorporated in design, published and taken into account in reaching a decision on a relevant planning application.

A key part of the EIA process is the collection of environmental information, (including the assessment of the likely effects of the development on the environment) and the subsequent publication of this information in the form of an Environmental Statement (ES).

The legislation requires the assessment and description of the likely significant environmental effects of the development and any mitigation measures to reduce, prevent and offset significant effects.

Scoping

A scoping exercise is currently underway and the aim will be to identify key significant issues at an early stage and allow these to be considered in the EIA process.

Such topics included in the assessment will be:
• Ecology and nature conservation
• Transport and traffic
• Archaeology and cultural heritage
• Hydrology and hydrogeology
• Landscape and visual amenity
• Noise
• Telecommunications
• Tourism and recreation
• Socio economic and land use
• Aeronautics
• Air and climate

Please see the scoping documentation below for more information on each of these topics. The consultation will include a wide range of organisations and stakeholders including Wychavon District Council (WDC), statutory bodies and parish councils.

Feedback obtained from scoping and ongoing consultation, together with information gathered during the environmental assessment, will be used to guide the most appropriate design and layout of the windfarm and its associated infrastructure.

You can download your own copy of the scoping report form here:

E4529-DOC-Lenchwick WF Scoping Consultation Document-Final-Feb 093.pdf

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