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Communities ‘bullied’ over wind schemes

Nidderdale communities are being bullied by the companies behind wind farm developments in the dale, the MP has claimed.

Julian Smith, MP for Ripon and Skipton, spoke of his worries about the “false economy” created by heavy subsidies for farms.

He used Energy and Climate Change Questions in the House of Commons on Thursday, March 14, to raise the issue with Energy Secretary Ed Davey. Mr Smith said:

“Communities throughout North Yorkshire are being bullied by wind companies, and money is being wasted. Will the Secretary of State meet me, and other North Yorkshire Members of Parliament, to discuss why the Liberal Democrat obsession with wind is not what North Yorkshire wants?”

Speaking after the debate, Mr Smith said he was concerned that the true cost of wind farm developments was not being openly acknowledged.

“We are not being honest about the economics of wind farm investment.

Energy companies are attracted by the heavy subsidies for wind energy, he added.

“The more I look into the economics of wind energy the more I am concerned.”

“These companies get such a large chunk of tax-payers money it is worth their while to keep putting in planning applications.”

He added: “Communities across my constituency are being frustrated by the actions of developers who want to build turbines that are blots on the natural beauty of our stunning landscape. I want the Secretary of State to do more to reduce the subsidies on offer to developers which tempts them to put in applications for increasing numbers of turbines across North Yorkshire. I will continue to make that case to the Government in the weeks and months ahead.”

Plans to build four 110m wind turbines at Pennypot Lane near Hampsthwaite and a further seven 100m turbines at Felliscliffe are currently under council consideration, and Harrogate Borough Council is expected to discuss them in April.

The applications have come from Kelda, the company behind Yorkshire Water, and seperate company Tapar.

Mr Smith said that as the area’s MP he would be making “strong representations” on the applications.