Campaigners fighting proposals for what could be England’s biggest wind farm have seized on signs Government support for wind energy is cooling.
Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson, has written to Climate Change Minister Greg Barker asking him to clarify comments he made that suggested no more onshore wind farms would be allowed beyond those already in the pipeline.
Mr Wilson wants to know what impact, if any, the apparent change in Government policy would have on the proposed Isles Wind Farm, east of Newton Aycliffe.
Energy company E.ON wants to build up to 45 wind turbines on the site.
Mr Barker said at the weekend that the “wind we need” in Britain was already being built, developed or in planning, adding: “We inherited a policy from the last government which was unbalanced in favour of onshore wind.”
Mr Wilson said he did not oppose all wind farms, but believed that County Durham now had more than its fair share.
He added: “I have written to him asking for a definition of ‘pipeline’ and if it includes E.ON’s proposal for up to 45 wind turbines on the Isle in Sedgefield.”
Campaigner Jean Gillespie said residents would be highly delighted if the Isles Wind Farm scheme was thrown out.
She added: “If there was a change in policy from the Government, we would welcome that.”
A spokesman for E.ON said Mr Barker’s comments did not affect the Isles scheme. The energy company said it was looking at the feedback from the initial consultation exercise and would announce its next move later this spring.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change yesterday denied Mr Barker’s comments reflected a change in policy towards wind farms.
However, a spokesman confirmed a ten per cent cut for onshore wind subsidies was being proposed.
He added: “The Government is also committed to giving local communities the power to shape the spaces in which they live and getting rid of regional targets introduced by the last government.”
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