Chorley Borough Council should be required to identify possible windfarm sites in the borough according to a local Euro-MP.
New EU targets require Britain to move from sourcing two per cent of energy renewably to 15 per cent within 13 years and energy from wind turbines is certain to play a significant part in meeting this.
According to the British Wind Energy Association there are currently 166 windfarms in the UK with a further 34 under construction.
But local Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies says that building more windfarms must not be at the expense of the many valued landscapes across the North West.
He said: “Wind energy has a role to play, but if precious landscapes are to be lost the public must be convinced that our hills and moorland are not simply being exploited to support the latest get-rich-quick scheme from powerful property developers.”
Mr Davies says community based schemes similar to those used in Denmark should be put in place.
Under this model each local authority would publish a map showing the locations, if any, where average wind speeds are sufficient to justify windfarm development.
Through public consultation they could then identify the places where this would command the greatest and least public support and amend planning guidance accordingly.
Mr Davies claims there are areas with high enough wind speeds that would receive little objection from the public.
He said: “For example, there are places in the South Pennines where construction of hundreds of wind generators could take place without arousing huge opposition.
“It would be hard to criticise the intrusion of wind farms along the M62 corridor where the landscape is already cut through by a six-lane motorway.
“But precious landscapes shouldn’t be scarred with man made wind-farms until all options are explored to the full.”
To be economically viable in the UK, a potential site generally needs average wind speeds of above 6m/s at the hub height.
By Gordon McCully
14 February 2008
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