Action is needed before the “beauty and tranquility of much loved landscapes” like Northumberland are sacrificed to a proliferation of wind farms, a report claims.
The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) has published a report calling for the Government to take action to stop onshore turbines damaging the countryside. Its contents were last night welcomed by a leading anti-wind campaigner who said Northumberland takes the “brunt of sheer numbers” of turbine applications.
The report is entitled Generating Light On Landscape Impacts: How To Accommodate Onshore Wind While Protecting The Countryside.
It calls for a locally accountable and strategically planned approach to onshore wind development.
The Government is also urged to provide more clarity about the total number of turbines to be built and where these might be located.
The report also calls for development of a strategic plan-led approach which recognises landscape capacity, including the cumulative impacts of turbines.
It asks the Government to ensure local planning authorities seek to protect landscape character through their local plans and in planning decisions. The report calls on ministers to instruct the planning inspectorate to give significant weight to any local plans which have attempted to identify appropriate and inappropriate areas for development.
The CPRE says: “Our new report highlights the dramatic proliferation of onshore wind turbines.
“In many cases, these are damaging valued landscapes and intruding into some of the most tranquil areas of England.
“We must find a way of reconciling climate change mitigation and landscape protection, otherwise we will sacrifice the beauty and tranquillity of much-loved landscapes.
“Onshore wind mapping shows exponential growth in wind turbine planning applications, leaving local communities increasingly powerless in the face of speculative applications from big, well-funded developers. We are calling for a locally accountable and strategically planned approach to onshore wind development.”
Andrew Joicey, a farmer at Cornhill who has fought a series of wind applications in the Berwick area, last night said: “The CPRE, like a number of other organisations, are beginning to realise the scale of the impact from accelerated number of applications.
“It is a real issue, I do not think people have really understood the potential impact of hundreds of applications joining up across various counties.
“It is more in Northumberland and Durham than people will be aware of.
“Northumberland continues to be the county that is receiving the brunt of sheer numbers of applications and has a very large already consented capacity for renewable energy consented by the planners, much of it not built yet, nevertheless with consent.”
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