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PM’s turbine slur gives hope to protest

Hope has been given to wind farm protestors in Teesdale after the Prime Minister said turbines were “over-subsidised and wasteful of public money”.
David Cameron said the Government would be reducing subsidies to onshore wind farms and giving residents a greater say.
His statements came as the turbine protest in Teesdale gathers strength.
Teesdale councillor Richard Bell, leader of Durham County Council’s Conservative group, has backed campaigners fighting plans for five turbines at Punder Gill, near Cross Lanes.
The proposals for the site, near the A66, are being developed by brothers Andrew and Mark Thompson.
Cllr Bell last week had a meeting with members of South Teesdale Action Group (Stag).
He said that he agreed with the 100 MPs who recently sent a letter to David Cameron asking for a cut in the subsidy for on-shore wind.
Cllr Bell said: “The current level of subsidy is too high, leading to inappropriate sites for wind development coming forward.
“I await to see the details of a formal application, but I have serious concerns as to the suitability of Punder Gill.”
The 100 MPs also highlighted that recent planning appeals have approved wind farm developments with inspectors citing renewable energy targets as being more important than planning considerations.
Cllr Bell said he agrees with the view that these national regulations “diminished the chances of local people defeating unwanted on-shore wind farm proposals through the planning system”.
The cost of wind farms is heavily subsidised by the taxpayer through energy bills.
Keith Alexander, spokesperson for Stag, said: “Subsidies for wind farms are paid for by consumers at a cost of £170 per household. As a result we are all paying so that landowners can benefit from these subsidies, subsidies that they can then use to make ‘generous’ offers of so called ‘free electricity’.”
Andrew Thompson has said the proposal would be small scale and help the country meet its renewable energy targets.
A separate plan for a wind farm near Hamsterley Forest is being decided by Durham County Council. The applicant, Banks Renewables, said wind farms bring benefits to the community.
Phil Dyke, development director at Banks Renewables, said: “If our plans are approved, a benefits fund worth approximately £25,000 every year – or around £625,000 across the 25-year lifespan of the wind farm – will enable us to deliver a range of community and environmental improvements that would be developed in partnership with local people.
“In addition to this, Windy Bank would bring other substantial benefits to the surrounding area, including new jobs in the construction phase of the project and local construction companies being able to tender for related contracts worth around £3million.
“Utilising onshore wind farms like Windy Bank to update the UK’s power infrastructure is already helping to address the energy challenges that we know the 21st century will bring, and we strongly believe that we have chosen a wholly appropriate location for the type of scheme we’re putting forward.”