Anti-wind turbine campaigners who fear a government promotion for the South Holland and the Deepings MP is a blow for their cause have been reassured by the man himself.
John Hayes, who left his post as Energy Minister to work alongside Prime Minister David Cameron in advising on policy and parliamentary matters, has announced a new move by the Government to “empower communities” to have more say on proposals affecting them and to benefit from those that are put in place.
Even as Energy Minister, Mr Hayes never tried to hide his views on wind farms, claiming the UK was “peppered” with them and that “enough is enough” in terms of commissioning new ones.
However, last week a spokesman for a group of residents from Sutton St James opposing plans for a 78m wind turbine near their homes expressed concern about the move.
Paul Hinks said: “We think it is a bad move for anti-wind turbine groups and shows the Government is hell bent on forcing wind turbines on the local communities against our wishes.”
However, Mr Hayes said nothing could be further than the truth. He said: “I continue to take an interest in matters concerning renewable energy and speak with the new Energy Minister Michael Fallon. I know the Prime Minister would expect it of me.
“Last September we issued a public call for evidence on onshore wind projects.
“The majority of responses were critical of the current situation and we realised we had to make a number of significant changes, which I was able to discuss before I left the department.
“The essence of the change is to make significant steps for the community to have more of a say about proposals and greater benefit.
“When the change is announced very shortly, people will see a shift to community power.”
In the meantime, campaigns against proposals for renewable energy farms in the Lincolnshire Free Press area are ongoing.
Sutton St James Parish Council objected to the plan by Ogden Energy, who want to put the turbine on land associated with Fendyke Farm, at their recent meeting.
Farmer John North, who lives opposite the proposed site, has written to Natural England regarding an investigation into the impact on birds and animals. Mr North said: “The figures on the report are misleading. You are not going to see a lot in January.
“You only have to visit a nearby wood to see how many endangered species of birds there are. The turbine plan is just in the wrong place.”
A consultation held to decide the location of an onshore electrical system for the Triton Knoll offshore wind farm has been extended following requests from the public.
Four possible locations have been shortlisted to house a 20-hectare substation to connect the Triton Knoll offshore wind farm to the national grid, including two sites near Bicker, one at Swineshead and one at Great Hale Fen.
Parish councillor Phil Lovell said he was surprised to discover no residents had received communication from the developers, RWE renewables. He said: “I thought it was just me. It seems the plan is being steamrollered through.”
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