Farm tenants have called on local authorities to work with them in the development of renewable energy schemes.
Concerns have been raised by the tenants who believe local authorities are using its agricultural holdings for the development of schemes without appropriate consultation with farmers working on the land.
The Tenant Farmers Association used the example of Peterborough City Council whose green energy scheme involved the loss of up to a thousand acres of agricultural land for the establishment of three energy parks despite opposition from local communities.
“We all understand the need to develop alternative means of energy production to ensure our long-term energy security as a nation but we must do so in a way which works positively with the communities who will be affected by the development of new energy schemes” said TFA Chief Executive, George Dunn.
“Norfolk County Council also attempted to progress various schemes to install wind turbines on farms without adequate consultation with tenant farmers or compensation for their loss until the TFA stepped in to demand changes.”
“Clearly there is a huge incentive for local authorities to develop renewable energy schemes on the basis of the public subsidy available.”
“However, public money should not be used in a way which displaces viable businesses or tramples on the rights of others. Following the TFA’s intervention the position in Norfolk is now much improved but there is a long way to go to resolve the difficulties within Peterborough City Council. The farm tenants have established a local liaison group under the chairmanship of TFA member, Alan Skeels which is determined to do whatever is necessary in order to protect their interests. The TFA will be supporting the local group in its endeavours,” said Dunn.
“We would warn all other local authorities considering the development of renewable energy schemes to do so on a basis of cooperation and not conflict.”