Campaigners fighting wind turbine developments across East Yorkshire are pledging to battle on, despite being boosted by new rules handing more powers to councils.
Communities have welcomed new Government guidance meaning residents’ concerns will take precedence over the requirement to provide renewable energy.
David Hinde, of Bempton, near Bridlington, has been a leading force in the public campaign against wind turbines.
He said: “It’s not about targets anymore, it’s about protecting our landscape.
“The announcement is good news, it’s extremely encouraging to see what appears to be a major change.
“Now the proof will be in the pudding. We’ll be looking for evidence in the inspectors’ decisions.”
East Riding Council’s planning committee has rejected several applications, or failed to determine them within the required timescale, only to see permission granted by a planning inspector at appeal.
At an average cost of £70,000 per appeal defeat, the authority has been faced with a bill of about £630,000.
It is money taxpayers can ill afford and Councillor Symon Fraser, planning portfolio holder at East Riding Council, had sparked concerns by saying the authority would have to change tack and start approving more applications.
Following this week’s government announcement, East Yorkshire MP Greg Knight said: “Many local campaigns objecting to an inappropriately sited onshore wind farm have been crushed when, on a planning appeal, local opinion has been over-ridden by a planning inspector giving greater weight to national energy targets.
“The changes mean this is reversed and more weight has to be given to local views.”
The new package of measures will also increase the amount of money communities receive if wind farms are built.
Developers will be expected to give residents five times what they currently pay for allowing turbines in their area. The increase is from £1,000 per megawatt of installed power to £5,000.
A medium-sized wind farm with about 10 turbines is likely to mean community benefits of about £100,000 a year or see up £400 cut from each household’s bill.
Green energy companies have said that could make some wind farm developments uneconomic.
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