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MPs could look at wind farm issues  

Credit:  Malton & Pickering Mercury, www.maltonmercury.co.uk 11 February 2012 ~~

The escalating row over the building of wind farms could come under the spotlight of a top parliamentary select committee chaired by Ryedale’s MP Anne McIntosh.

She told the Mercury this week she did not want to pre-empt any action that might be taken but there could be an opportunity for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee to look into the issue.

Her remarks followed the revelation that 101 Tory MPs and others have written to the Prime Minister demanding that the £400 million-a-year subsidies paid to the “inefficient” onshore wind turbine industry are “dramatically cut”. They want the savings spread between other “reliable” forms of renewable energy production.

The backbenchers, joined by some MPs from other parties, have also called on Mr Cameron to tighten up planning laws so local people have a better chance of stopping new farms being developed and protecting the countryside.

They also want changes to the proposed National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) to give local people who object to proposed wind farms a better chance of victory in the planning process.

Miss McIntosh, the MP for Thirsk, Malton and Filey, said she had not signed the letter. “My position is very clear. I tend not to sign letters like that.”

But she stressed she had made it clear at the general election and since that she would fight plans to build wind farms in her constituency because they were unreliable and grossly inefficient.

“My position has not changed,” she said. “I have told Charles Hendry (Minister of State at the Department for Energy and Climate Change) that it is inappropriate to subsidise wind farms in the way that happens.”

She recently joined forces with Euro MP Godfrey Bloom and Bridlington MP Greg Knight against plans to develop a wind farm in the Yorkshire Wolds.

There are currently more than 3,000 onshore wind turbines in Britain and at least 4,500 more turbines are expected to go up as the Government’s drive to meet legally binding targets set by the EU for cutting carbon emissions sparks a green energy boom.

*Huge areas of rural Yorkshire are at risk of “inappropriate” development because of the framework, says The Campaign for the Protection for Rural England.

It says the Yorkshire Wolds is the most threatened area in the entire country and local politicians may not be able to resist major housing developments unless the new proposed policies are revised.

It says the framework would remove a formal acknowledgement that the countryside was inherently important and instead would only give legal protection to areas with a particular designation such as Green Belt zones.

East Yorkshire is not designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty and if the council cannot show it has enough land for six years then it would struggle to stop housing plans.

In those area without formal adopted local plans the Government’s framework would place a presumption in favour of sustainable development – even if it was not wanted locally.

Source:  Malton & Pickering Mercury, www.maltonmercury.co.uk 11 February 2012

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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