The decision taken last night by the Planning Committee of Milton Keynes Council to approve the environmentally disastrous wind farm in Emberton can only be described as the wrong decision made on a wind farm application at the wrong time, proposed in the wrong place. Indeed Cllr John Bint summed the situation up quite succinctly when he suggested that what the committee was being asked to decide upon was destroying “first division countryside for fourth division wind (power)”.
I believe that the process itself was fundamentally undermined by the quality of the advice given by officers to the elected members. Inexperienced in determining wind farm applications the decision was taken to obtain advice from White Young Green partners, a consultancy well known in the property sector as being one of the more aggressive supporters of development. Asking WYG to offer advice on whether or not to approve the decision to press ahead with such a damaging scheme was akin to asking turkeys their views on the abolition of Christmas: a foregone conclusion before they began. Indeed having read their submission it is apparent that it weighs less heavily on the arguments against the development as for. Cllr Bint got less than satisfactory answers from WYG’s representatives on the accuracy of the photomontage and questions went unanswered as to why 125m turbines were necessary if, as YourEnergy claim, technology is advancing. I urge BLEW to consider mounting a legal challenge as a matter of urgency and seek to have the decision referred to a Judicial Review.
But what of the community? Emberton is a village in conflict with itself. The Parish Council and the majority of residents have expressed their opposition to the scheme. Indeed 86% of residents polled by the Parish Council wanted the application turned down. Petsoe has been the scene of angry protests in recent months and this has not been helped by one or two residents attempting to give the false impression that there is muted support for the scheme within the village, claims that are only leading to resentment and ill feeling. The challenge now to the village is to try and reconcile itself and to try and heal the divisions that exist. As a resident I will do all I can in the coming months, however I think it is important to recognise that the blame for what has happened does not rest with individuals but with YourEnergy who have cynically sought to exploit Government subsidy with utter indifference to the consequences to the village. Should this scheme go ahead the residents of Emberton will have to try to find a way to put recent events behind them. I doubt very much that once YourEnergy have repaid their venture capital and run off with their subsidies leaving behind their monstrosity wind turbines, un-productive and thus un-maintained and left to rot as they no doubt will be, you will not see the “caring, considerate face” of their PR machine attempting pacify the community as they will be long gone and onto their next “project”. How sad that not enough of our Councillors recognised the dangers in time to prevent the potential devastation their decision will no doubt cause.
Conservative Party Spokesperson
Tuesday 18th December 2007
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