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MP calls on PM to cut wind turbine subsidies

Uttoxeter’s MP has called on the Prime Minister to cut subsidies for wind turbines which are encouraging energy companies to pursue plans for land in East Staffordshire.

Andrew Griffiths is among more than 100 Conservative MPs who have written to David Cameron urging him to cut the £400 million a year subsidies.

They also want planning rules changed to make it easier for local people to object to their construction.

Mr Griffiths is joined by fellow Tory Bill Cash, who has himself spoken publicly against plans for wind turbines in areas of his Stone constituency, including one which had been earmarked for Checkley.

Mr Griffiths, who publicly opposed plans for a wind farm at Bagots Park near Abbots Bromley, told the Advertiser: “We all recognise the need to cut our carbon emissions and help the environment.

“However the subsidies that are currently paid to large energy companies are distorting the market and leading to increased bills for consumers in places like Uttoxeter.

“In addition I have got genuine concerns about subsidising wind turbines that have such a devastating impact on the beauty of some of Britain’s most attractive countryside.” In the letter sent to No 10 Downing Street last week, which was seen by The Sunday Telegraph, the MPs said they have become ‘more and more concerned’ about Government ‘support for onshore wind energy production’.

“In these financially straitened times, we think it is unwise to make consumers pay, through taxpayer subsidy, for inefficient and intermittent energy production that typifies onshore wind turbines,” they said.

The MPs want the savings spread between other ‘reliable’ forms of renewable energy production.

They have also called on Mr Cameron to change the proposed National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) so that it gives local people who object to proposed wind farms a better chance of victory in the planning process.

The framework has finished a public consultation process and is awaiting the green light from ministers.

Mr Griffiths said the persistence of energy companies in regards to the Bagots Park site, which has seen multiple applications for wind farms turned down by East Staffordshire Borough Council, may be down to these subsidies.

He said: “I think it is clear that these energy companies would not be so enthusiastic were they not receiving huge subsidies at the taxpayer’s expense and why they keep returning to places like Bagots Park as without the subsidy the costs would escalate.

“It is also right that people should have a say on what gets built in their area and I for one am in support of off-shore wind farms rather than on-shore which spoil the countryside.”