Revelations that a wind farm company offered alleged “bribes” to the owners of a farm at the centre of its proposals have been welcomed by Skipton MP Julian Smith.
Mr Smith said he was shocked to learn that Energiekontor had been in talks with the owners of Ash Tree Farm, next to the proposed site of three 100m high turbines at Brightenber Hill, near Gargrave.
He said it was important that people came forward to help him and other MPs fighting to get subsidies paid to wind turbine companies reduced by up to 25 per cent.
“I have made a specific point and raised it in Parliament about the bullying tactics of these companies,” he said. “We’ve seen appalling behaviour by the banks and now it seems the energy sector through these alleged claims is in a similar position.”
Mr Smith added he believed there would be a vast reduction in the number of applications for wind farms if the subsidies were reduced and called on anyone with complaints about the companies to get in touch.
A letter of objection from the owners of the farm appeared on Craven District Council’s website two weeks ago as part of interested parties’ comments on the proposals.
In the letter, they wrote they had been repeatedly approached by the company with steadily escalating offers culminating a year ago in an offer of £275,000 in the event the turbines were given planning permission and in exchange for a letter of support to the council.
They wrote they were tempted by the offer, but following legal advice rejected it and remain opposed to the scheme.
Energiekontor has admitted there were per-contractural talks with the owners of the farm which a spokesman said were an effort to protect the farmer’s amenities and were a “standard commercial arrangement”.
The Friends of Craven Landscape has called on Energiekontor to withdraw its application.
“The time has come for Energiekontor to acknowledge the weakness of its case and withdraw with grace, dignity and respect for the Craven community, “ said spokesman, Chris Emmett.
* We have been asked to make it clear that the comments made by Ash Tree Farm owners Ian and Eileen Coates, which appeared in last week’s Craven Herald, were taken from their objection letter published on the council’s website.
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