The leader of a council which is trying to call a halt to further wind farm development in its county was in Northumberland yesterday to discuss his tough stance with local campaigners fighting the spread of giant turbines here.
Leader of Lincolnshire County Council Martin Hill said there was nothing to stop Northumberland County Council from implementing similar policies aimed at stopping the unrestrained advance of turbines across moorland and countryside.
Coun Hill saw for himself the 13 massive turbines which have been built by Scottish Power near the Alcan complex at Lynemouth, and spoke to local anti-wind farm campaigners and Conservative councillors about the action Lincolnshire has taken.
His visit comes amid continuing concerns about the number of wind farms being approved and proposed in Northumberland – and calls by local Tory councillors for a county-wide policy to restrain development.
Last month Conservative-controlled Lincolnshire’s executive agreed a new planning protocol after declaring that “enough is enough” in the wake of 71 large turbines being built there.
The policy – which is designed to discourage further wind farm applications and help local district councils in their decision-making on wind projects – calls for a ban on turbines being built within 2km of homes.
It also says no wind farms should be constructed within 10km of a village with more than 10 properties, seeks to block multiple turbine applications in particular areas and gives active council support to local groups opposing “inappropriate” applications.
Yesterday Coun Hill said Wiltshire and Cornwall councils were taking a similar stance, and there was no reason why Northumberland County Council could not do the same.
He said: “Northumberland is very similar to our beautiful county, and we don’t want Lincolnshire’s landscape being spoiled by wind turbines.
“We already have 71, and a lot more in the pipeline, and we fear we will have a forest of them if we don’t act.
“Our policy is all about the cumulative impact on the landscape and the distance of turbines from housing.
“We support renewable energy but we have said enough is enough in terms of turbines.
“The recent High Court ruling on a proposed wind farm in Norfolk was important in protecting landscape character from turbines, and Northumberland County Council is quite entitled to have a policy which planning decisions can then support.
“It is quite in order to have a policy which both delivers renewable energy and also protects the landscape in a wonderful county like Northumberland.”
Conservatives recently failed in a bid to get Northumberland County Council to carry out an urgent public consultation exercise amid growing concerns over the scale of wind farm approvals and proposals.
Yesterday group deputy leader, Glen Sanderson, said it was hoped Coun Hill’s visit would provide evidence and support to secure a county-wide policy which would protect Northumberland and its residents.
“We believe that our own council must listen to residents and do more to stem the tide of speculative and inappropriate wind turbine applications,” he said.
“Our meeting gives campaigners an opportunity to hear from a man taking decisive action in response to local opinion. Conservative councillors will learn valuable lessons for how this can be achieved.”
Our policy is all about the cumulative impact on the landscape and the distance of turbines from housing