A people power policy to protect residents from the noise of wind turbines could end up costing Milton Keynes Council hundreds of thousands of pounds in legal fees.
For energy giants RWE npower are this week threatening to sue the council over its minimum distance ruling.
Milton Keynes is one of the first councils in the country to impose a ban on massive turbines being built less than 1.2 kilometres away from housing.
RWE bosses, who want to put 17 wind turbines on two different local sites, claim the ban is unlawful and contrary to the Government’s national policy to produce green energy whenever possible.
The company’s lawyers have written to the council saying the 1.2 kilometre rule has ‘no rational basis’ and should be ‘accorded no weight’.
In a barely veiled threat, they state the council would risk a ‘considerable burden to the public purse’ in legal fees if it did not take back its decision.
The letter has infuriated city MP Mark Lancaster, who voted in favour of the Localism Act because it empowered local authorities to make their own decisions.
“I am deeply concerned and opposed to a large multinational business trying to undermine the wishes of residents by threatening the council with legal action.”
The council itself is refusing to comment on its predicament but senior councillors are due to discuss a plan of action at a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
Meanwhile RWE project director Wayne Cranstone said: “Effects on the occupiers of a home close to a wind farm have to be judged on a case by case basis. It is not simply a case of prescribed distances.
“Many other factors such as the size of the wind farm, orientation of the property, topography and local screening are all very important.
“There is no hard evidence to justify such a restriction on renewable developments.”