Planners should not ‘ride roughshod’ over local communities in a rush to approve and build windfarms, the planning minister has said.
Nick Boles has fired a shot at the Liberal Democrats, warning that their push for green energy should not be used as an ‘excuse’ to impose the eyesores in the countryside.
In a letter to the department for Energy and Climate Change, Mr Boles warns that the spread of onshore windfarms is ‘bitterly resented’ by affected communities.
Mr Boles issued his broadside in a formal response to the Energy Department’s public consultation on the future of wind energy.
He has very pointedly sided with energy minister John Hayes, who is campaigning to block the approval of future onshore wind farms, against Lib Dem energy secretary Ed Davey, who insists that they are a cornerstone of Britain’s renewable energy policy.
In his letter Mr Boles says the government should do more to support local communities fighting planning battles over the location of windfarms.
‘We should be working with communities rather than seemingly riding roughshod over their concerns,’ he writes.
‘Proposals allowed on appeal by planning inspectors can be bitterly resented.
‘Wind farms are not appropriate in all settings.’
Mr Boles’ Department for Communities and Local Government has pioneered plans for local communities to be compensated with new facilities if they accept renewable energy developments.
Mr Boles has previously called for no windfarm to be built within 1.4 miles of people’s homes.
But his latest intervention is significant since it forms an official response to the consultation at DECC.
The Coalition split over green energy has led to furious exchanges over the past few months.
The Lib Dems say windfarms are vital to ensure that Britain hits its green energy target to generate 15 per cent of energy from renewable resources by 2020.
But senior Tories say that target will be easily met with windfarms ‘already in the pipeline’ – those with planning permission or awaiting approval.
The Lib Dems reacted with irritation to Mr Boles’ letter.
A source close to Mr Davey said: ‘No one ever said we wanted to ride roughshod over anyone.’
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