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MP defends Crook Hill wind farm stance

Rochdale MP Paul Rowen has angrily defended his support of Crook Hill campaigners fighting against a proposed wind farm on Crook Hill. Mr Rowen said: “If you want an ‘identikit politician’ who signs up to every line of party policy then I’m not your man.

“I have always been sceptical of the so called benefits of onshore wind farms. I opposed plans for wind farms on Brown Wardle and Knowl Moor back in 1999 and I’ve seen nothing to change my mind. The Prime Minister admitted a couple of weeks ago that the UK’s target of ‘non-renewables’ was unattainable.

Rochdale’s Labour Parliamentary Candidate Simon Danczuk had questioned what he says is a “spectacular u-turn” made by Mr Rowen, on wind farms and renewable energy. Mr Danczuk had said: “Instead of being concerned for the future of Rochdale all he is concerned about is which way the wind is blowing and how he can try and gain some short term popularity.”

Mr Rowen added: “My stance is no different from that of Environment Minister Phil Woolas MP who opposed a similar development on Saddleworth Moor a couple of years ago. We need continuity and certainty of energy supply; you flick a switch and you expect the light to go on. On shore wind supply cannot give you that. This means a greater percentage of conventional power stations have to been retained as a backup. Where do critics stand on nuclear power? Do they back the government’s determination to go nuclear?

“I back totally plans for tidal/wave and offshore wind farms that do guarantee continuity of supplies. We can and should be doing much more to encourage energy conservation though grants repayable through utility bills. Up to 30% of all energy consumed could be saved in this way. We also need to spend much more developing clean coal. Britain has nearly 250 years of coal reserves and sooner or later we are going to have to make use of them. I welcome the opportunity for a lively debate on this topic.”

Rochdale Online

7 November 2007