May 7, 2012

Northumberland Tories call on Government to give local people the final say on wind farm plans

by David Black, The Journal, May 7 2012,

A direct plea is being made to the Government for a change in national policy on wind farms amid growing concerns over the number of giant turbines being given the green light in Northumberland.

Conservative county councillors are writing to energy minister Charles Hendry calling for the views of local people and their elected representatives to be paramount when decisions are taken on new wind farm applications.

The Tories say local residents should have the “final and determining” say on how many wind turbines are built, and where.

The move comes a month after a Conservative call for an urgent public consultation on wind energy development in Northumberland was rejected by Liberal Democrat and Labour councillors.

Northumberland currently has 27 operational turbines, 24 are under construction, a further 74 have been approved and 52 are either in the planning system or being scoped – giving a potential total of 177.

The letter to Mr Hendry says energy secretary Ed Davey said in March that the country is now on course to meet national carbon reduction targets for 2020.

It says the need to hit renewable targets has been used by Northumberland planning officers to justify the approval of wind farms, often overriding “strong and cogent” arguments against the developments by local residents.

“Now that central Government has realised that the UK has enough onshore wind capacity in the planning system…we must now change the way we look upon renewable energy planning applications.

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