Developers are targeting East Yorkshire as the country’s prime location for onshore wind farms, new figures reveal as an MP called call for a “moratorium” on new turbines across the area.
Data released by the Government show the East Riding of Yorkshire has had the highest number of planning applications for large onshore wind developments in the whole of England over the past decade.
Attracted by the area’s wide open spaces and relatively cheap land, developers have submitted 25 separate applications since 2002 for wind farms of over 10KW in size.
Most smaller, single-turbine developments are not included in the figures.
The statistics published by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) show there have been 76 such applications across Yorkshire as a whole over the past 10 years, with the East Riding’s neighbouring authority, North Lincolnshire, in second place within the region with seven applications.
East Yorkshire MP Greg Knight said he was “not surprised” that East Riding was being targeted by developers and called for a “moratorium” on onshore turbines from the coalition Government.
“People living here have seen these developments coming and are well aware that we are shouldering more than our fair share of wind farms across the UK,” he said.
“My view is that there is now a case for a moratorium in the East Riding. It is an area of outstanding natural beauty and we are getting to the stage now where the number of wind farms is coming close to desecrating it.”
Further figures released by DECC show 11 of the 25 applications in the East Riding have been approved, with four turned down by the local council. The rest have not yet been determined.
East Riding District Council said there were a number of geographical reasons why the areas is proving so popular for wind developers, and stressed it must treat each application on its own merits in accordance with the planning laws set out by the Government.
Pete Ashcroft, head of planning and development management for the local authority, said: “The number of planning applications for wind farms in the East Riding reflects many factors, including the size of the local authority area, its high level of wind resource, and ease of access with close proximity to a major port.
“The council has always endeavoured to consider wind farm applications on their merits, taking into account national policy on renewable energy as well as the views of the community and responses to consultations.
“A number of applications have been refused by the council – but with the decision overturned on appeal to the planning inspectorate.”
The Government has long made it clear that the UK needs onshore wind farms as part of its drive to slash carbon emissions and so reduce the threat of global warming.
However, many backbench Conservative MPs believe the focus should be on offshore wind, tidal, gas and nuclear energy.
DECC last month confirmed that the subsidy made available to onshore wind developers is to be cut by 10 per cent, although the Treasury has been pushing for a 25 per cent cut.
Mr Knight said he wanted to see it removed altogether. “There is no doubt that the subsidy available to the developers is what is driving them,” he said. “I just think we should be spending our money elsewhere. Wave power, for example, is a developing technology which is much less obtrusive.”
A statement by DECC Secretary Ed Davey made clear that the Government will “not support renewables at any price” and that subsidies will continue to be set as a level to encourage private investment and secure value for money for the taxpayer. Subsidies for onshore wind farms may be reviewed again next year.
But he underlined the Government’s total commitment to building a green energy sector.
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