Gordon Brown’s plans to erect thousands of wind turbines across the country should not influence councillors due to decide the future of a planned wind farm in Abbots Bromley, it has been claimed.
Speaking after the news that the Government plans to introduce 4,000 more inland turbines and a further 3,000 out at sea over the next 12 years, East Staffordshire Borough Council leader Alex Fox said the application should be considered on its ‘own merits’.
Councillor Fox, who is opposing the Airtricity bid to build eight turbines at Bagots Park in his role in his role as Bagots Ward councillor, added that the current increase in oil prices should not cloud the argument.
He said: “This bid has to be dealt with on its own merits, and the issue over the rising price of oil doesn’t alter whether the Abbots Bromley site is suitable or not.
“The issues remain what amount of wind it will make, the level of environmental impact it will have, and the effect it will have on a densely populated rural area.
“It’s a different argument than whether wind farms generally should be put up in appropriate rural areas – but Bagots Park is not appropriate.”
The borough council is set to consider the Abbots Bromley wind farm bid later this year, following a controversial and aggressive consultation process.
Airtricity has come under fire for hiring paid consultants to drum up support for the wind farm, and a recent company-organised trip for villages to visit another of its sites in Scotland led to a zero take-up from villagers.
Reports yesterday claimed that hard-pressed Britons face five years of rocketing home fuel bills to bankroll the PM’s green energy revolution.
Utility bills are expected to jump up by 37 per cent – adding hundreds of pounds to yearly bills.
The increases are likely to come into effect from around 2015, Business Secretary John Hutton said.
Mr Brown said the strategy – to meet EU targets – would require £100billion investment until 2020.
But critics have warned that the annual cost to the economy is likely to be up to £6 billion, most of which will be passed on to consumers.
By Andy Done-Johnson
28 June 2008