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End of plan for wind farms on council land

Divisive plans to erect wind farms on public land across Cambridgeshire are to be scrapped.

County council properties near Ely and in Huntingdonshire were earmarked for turbines but this proved unpopular and bosses say they don’t want to force them on communities.

The projects were expected to generate nearly £1 million annually and yesterday the move sparked debate about members’ climate change beliefs.

In a previously leaked email, leader Cllr Nick Clarke said he only supported schemes to reduce carbon emissions if they saved money, adding: “I do not think we are going to save the planet in doing so.”

The authority scrapped dedicated expenditure on tackling climate change in its budget.

Green Cllr Simon Sedgwick-Jell said he believed Cllr Clarke was a “climate change sceptic”.

Liberal Democrat Cllr Kevin Wilkins said the Conservatives “couldn’t have come up with a more backward-looking policy”. He said: “They are clearly prepared to spend lots of taxpayers’ money in support of their crackpot views on climate change.”

The proposed sites were Whitehall Farm in Littleport and Wolvey Farm in Coveney, which sparked fears for views of Ely Cathedral. Morleys Farm in Warboys and Crowtree Farm in Farcet were also put forward.

In February the cabinet approved the signing of deals with developers, and it was hoped annual rent would be up to £900,000, with an extra £80,000 going to communities each year.

A report going before the cabinet on September 6 recommends development be deferred and that tenants are stopped from launching their own schemes.

The U-turn is expected to cost taxpayers less than £10,000 in fees.

Resources chief Cllr Steve Count said: “By and large, people don’t want turbines on their doorsteps.”