Residents will be able to stop construction of wind farms under tough new rules that could sound the death knell for controversial turbines.
New guidance is expected to tell councils that local people’s concerns should take precedence over the need for renewable energy, and give more weight to the impact of turbines on the landscape and heritage.
The news was welcomed today by protesters campaigning against wind farms on the Shropshire/Powys border.
More than 300 people this week marched to the opening of a nine-month inquiry into plans to build five wind farms and an overhead power line through Mid Wales.
Campaigners believe today’s announcement will help them in their fight against the pylons.
The changes are part of a package of measures that also significantly increase the amount of money communities will receive for agreeing to host wind farms nearby, with householders set to get hundreds of pounds off energy bills.
Jonathan Wilkinson, from Montgomeryshire Against Pylons, said: “I’m absolutely delighted. It’s specifically for England at the moment, but it’s going to put more influence on concerns of the local people and that’s very welcome.”
The inquiry is looking into proposals to build wind farms in Llanbadarn Fynydd, near Llandrindod Wells; Llaithddu, near Newtown; Llandinam, near Llanidloes; Llanbrynmair, near Machynlleth; Carnedd Wen, near Machynlleth; with a 132kV overhead electric line connection from a Llandinam wind farm to the Welshpool substation.
And Mr Wilkinson said that despite the guidelines not being applicable in Wales due to devolved planning policy, he still believes there is “a significant possibility” that they could affect the outcome of the hearing.
“If the guidelines are applied to Wales then certainly the matter will be applicable to the ongoing hearing,” he said. “The infrastructure coming from the wind farms will affect England anyway as it passes through Shropshire.”
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