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Royal family accused of hypocrisy over wind farm plans

Dozens of wind turbines could soon turn profit for the royal family despite them being criticised by the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Edinburgh.

Up to 45 turbines are planned for construction on Crown Estate land, which could reap £1 million in subsidies for the royal family.

The Prince has previously reportedly described wind farms as a “horrendous blot on the landscape” while the Duke has referred to them as “useless” and “a disgrace”.

Residents living next to the proposed wind farms in Wales and Lincolnshire last night accused the royal family of hypocrisy.

The Crown Estate, a £7 billion land and property portfolio, is run by independent trustees, but from next year the Royal Family will live off its profits as a result of reforms to their finances.

The estate has agreed to lease land to the energy firm RES for 15 turbines at Bryn Llywelyn in Carmarthenshire and to the German firm RWE for another four at Neuadd Goch in Powys. Both projects are awaiting planning approval.

E. On has also been offered a lease for 17 turbines at Billingborough in Lincolnshire, plans for which are under public consultation.

Michael King, chairman of Billingborough parish council, said the plans for his village would see turbines built 700 yards from homes.

He said: “This is very hypocritical. There’s real resentment here and people have written letters to Prince Charles. He doesn’t have it on his doorstep.”

John Jones, 66, a pub landlord, who set up the campaign group Save Llanllwni Mountain to fight the Bryn Llywellyn proposals, said: “The developers have much more money than us and a far greater say, and the Royals are happy to take the subsidies even though they’ve never come out here and seen the mountain for themselves.”

The proposed wind farms will bring in around £20 million a year for the operators and £1 million a year to the Crown Estate.

The Crown Estate has already allowed RWE to build nine turbines on its land at Little Cheyne Court on Romney Marsh in Kent.

The Duke last year criticised onshore wind farms during an exchange with the boss of a wind farm company.

He said they were “absolutely useless, completely reliant on subsidies and an absolute disgrace”, claiming they would never work and would need backup capacity.

The Prince of Wales is reported to regard wind turbines as a “horrendous blot on the landscape”.

Under the The Sovereign Support Act, from next year the 250-year-old Civil will be replaced with a system whereby the royal family lives off around 15 per cent of the Crown Estate’s income. This sum is estimated to be around £34 million next year.