Tough EU targets on how much British energy should come from renewable sources will mean North Wales is inundated with windfarm applications, it was claimed last night.
Pressure on the government to ensure it meets its commitment to generating 20% of power from “green” energy by 2020 – to be confirmed by the European Commission later this week – will mean wind and tidal power has to be increased.
David Jones, Tory MP for Clwyd West, whose constituency is a windfarm hotspot, fears more turbines will be erected locally as the government strives to fall in line with the order from Brussels.
He said: “Tidal energy should get far more interest from the government than windfarms but the problem is that windfarms are a very cheap and established technology.
“The renewable obligations do not allow development of other technologies, they are skewed towards windfarms. They must be rebalanced to encourage others forms of renewable energy.
“The whole of the country will be inundated with planning applications for windfarms but North Wales will particularly affected, it has already had more applications than most.
“One of the concerns with windfarms has got to be the visual impact, particularly with the large developments.
“The planning Bill that is currently going through parliament aims to speed up the process for major infrastructure, which could mean large windfarms could be granted permission in as little as nine months.”
Today the government’s Energy Bill will receive its second reading in the House of Commons, setting out a range of measures to address the twin challenges of tackling climate change and securing energy supplies.
Steve Webb, the Liberal Democrat environment spokesman, said: “We urgently need a blueprint on how we get to the new target, without paying someone else to bail us out. With our shoreline and our climate, we ought to be doing much better. Many comparable countries have already made far more headway.”
A government spokesman said: “We are committed to delivering our share of this ambitious target and have already started work to significantly increase the amount of energy we get from renewable sources. This includes work on tidal power, the recent announcement to open up the coastline around the UK for offshore wind, and key measures in the Energy Bill.”
by Sam Lister
22 January 2008
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