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Other councils should follow Lincolnshire's lead in rejecting wind farms

Conservative-run Lincolnshire County Council has given more details on their planning policy (already reported by Tim) designed to resist the spread of wind farms.

It puts emphasis on the "protection of the Natural Environment and Biodiversity of Lincolnshire for future generations" with a "renewed focus on developers meeting strict planning criteria before building wind farms."

The restrictions they have agreed are as follows:

  • Landscape and Cumulative Visual Impact: The County Council is very concerned that the proliferation of onshore wind farm proposals would, if approved and implemented, result in the industrialisation and urbanisation of a highly rural county renowned and characterised by its big skies and uninterrupted vistas.
  • Impact on the Historic and Natural Environment: Wind turbine development should not take place in areas of historic importance or in such a way to impact on the visual outlook of such sites, e.g. cathedrals, parish churches.
  • Residential Amenity: Amenity of existing residential occupants must be maintained at an acceptable level in particular, no wind turbine should be constructed within 2km of a single residential property, and no wind farms should be constructed with 10km of a village with more than 10 properties.
  • Related Infrastructure: The presumption is for connecting cables to be placed underground and use made of existing or replacement pylons (of the same size and scale) along existing routes to carry the additional base load cabling. They will also require that all above and below ground infrastructure is removed post decommissioning and a bond held by the local authority to ensure compliance.
  • Construction Vehicles: to mitigate the obvious impact on the roads network a bond should be paid, upfront, before any works commence.
  • Local Economy: Whether individually or cumulatively wind farm developments should not have a negative impact upon the local economy, particularly upon tourism.

Lincolnshire says it is "the first authority that places the needs of its natural environment and residents above the interests of energy companies growing fat on taxpayers subsidies."

Cllr Martin Hill, Leader of Lincolnshire County Council, said:

“There’s been a proliferation of wind farms across Lincolnshire in recent years, and we feel that enough is enough. Although we understand the need for alternative energy and are not opposed to all wind farms, we remain unconvinced by the questionable science behind them.

“Not only are these things spoiling our beautiful countryside for future generations, they could also seriously damage our tourism industry - who wants to spend their holiday looking at a 400ft turbine?

“Similarly, who wants to live next door to one? People enjoy living in Lincolnshire because we have a great way of life, not because the landscape’s blighted by wind farms. On top of that, there are also issues around the damage caused to roads during the construction and decommissioning of turbines.

“And at a time of rising ‘fuel poverty’ people shouldn’t have to subsidise these developments through their energy bills. For these reason, we want to raise the bar even higher for anyone wanting to construct a wind farm in the county, and urge them to think twice about the impact their plans will have.”

All very cheering for the Duke of Edinburgh's birthday.

Giving evidence to Scottish Parliament's Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Donald Trump said:

Many countries have decided that they do not want wind, because it does not work without massive subsidies, it kills massive amounts of birds and wildlife and for lots of other reasons. Wind is a very inefficient form of energy. When you need it most, you do not get it, because the wind is not blowing.

Almost most important—other than the fact that the subsidies are enormous—is the fact that the windmills are so unattractive, so ugly, so noisy and so dangerous that, if Scotland does this, I think that it will be in serious trouble. I think that you will lose your tourism industry to Ireland and lots of other places that are laughing at what Scotland is doing.

Despite producing a tiny amount of energy, wind farms have over a £1 billion a year in subsidy due to rise to £5 billion annually by 2020. Other countries such as Spain and Germany are abandoning the discredited policy but the UK are pressing ahead.

Of course energy companies will fight in the courts to have wind farms, as the vast subsidy makes it so lucrative. But if localism is working then councils should be able to turn them down.

All the seats in the 27 county councils are up for election next year. It would be interesting to see which of them follow Lincolnshire's lead in rejecting wind farms. Those that do so will be showing independence from the policy of the Coalition Government - by adopting a distinctively Conservative policy.


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