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Ribble Valley campaigners brand government wind turbine proposals ‘a let down’

Government plans to allow communities to block wind farms while offering greater incentives to accept them have been branded a ‘let down’.

The proposals would see a five-fold rise in the benefits paid by developers to communities hosting wind farms alongside residents’ ability to have their say on the application.

The Government has said that the measures would ensure communities had a greater stake in the planning process.

Over the last few years there have been a spate of wind turbine applications in the Ribble Valley, with most being rejected by the borough council.

Applications for a 60 metre and a 27 metre wind turbine will soon be debated by the council.

A 43 metre turbine plan was rejected last year.

Planning committee chairman Terry Hill said: “Residents seem to be being told that they can have their say as long as it is yes.

“The Government will build up, through localism, the idea that the general public will have the final say but that is not the reality at all.

“If they are saying that the local population can have a final say on wind farms then what is the difference between that and a major housing estate.

“The people have a right to be consulted but what the Government are doing is building up expectation and then letting people down.”

Helen Rigg, who lives in Simonstone where a 60 metre wind turbine could be built, said: “It just seems like the public will never get a fair deal on this. Fair enough that communities would get more money from developers but I highly doubt that people will get more of a say.”

A spokeswoman for wind turbine developer FutureEnergy said: “I think time will tell as to whether these changes will be effective. It’s always good to get people’s input on applications but it all depends really on where they live and where the turbine is being planned to be built.”