March 20, 2012
England, Opinions, U.K.

Lincoln MP Karl McCartney voices his concerns over on-shore wind farm policy

Lincolnshire Echo, 19 March 2012

Lincoln’s Tory MP Karl McCartney was one of more than 100 MPs to write to David Cameron urging a change to on-shore wind farm policy. After the Prime Minister’s defence of the technology, Mr McCartney gives his side of the story…

I have grown more and more concerned about the Government’s policy of support for on-shore wind energy production and am calling, along with a considerable number of colleagues, for the Government to cut the £500 million-a-year subsidies paid to the wind power industry.

If we really want to ensure that issues like demand, delivery and security of energy supply are adequately addressed in the future, then the Government has to broaden generation beyond large-scale onshore wind farms, which are not reliable and rarely have community support or buy-in.

Not only is the intermittent energy production that typifies on-shore wind turbines inefficient, it also increases the price of energy bills for every home and business in our city.

In the ongoing review of renewable energy subsidies, I am asking the Government to spread the savings made between other types of reliable renewable energy production and energy efficiency measures.

I am also are worried that the new National Planning Policy Framework, in its current form, diminishes the chances of local people defeating unwanted on-shore wind farm proposals through the planning system.

I want the new planning regime the Government is introducing to ensure that local people’s views are taken fully into account and that the system recognises the importance of the beautiful countryside and heritage assets we have.

Finally, recent planning appeals have approved wind farm developments with the inspectors citing renewable energy targets as being more important than planning considerations.

Taken to its logical conclusion, this means that it is impossible to defeat applications through the planning system.

I am, therefore, urging the Government to ensure that planning inspectors know that the views of local people and long established planning requirements should always be taken into account.

As a member of English Heritage and the National Trust it is very important to me that the new planning regime ensures the system recognises the importance of the beautiful countryside and heritage assets we have.

We simply cannot afford as a nation to put all our renewable eggs in one basket. We must promote and invest in a broad range of renewables if we are to meet future capacity targets and that is what we are asking for in this letter.

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