MP Peter Aldous said he had never sought to hide his family renewable energy interests as he defended accusations he had not done enough to help constituents concerned about wind turbines in Kessingland.
The Waveney MP, who has come under fire from some opponents over his stake in a proposed wind farm near Ipswich, said he had looked into concerns about planning permission, noise and shadow flicker in Kessingland, but had no reason to dispute findings that everything had been done properly.
He said he had acted as a conduit between the concerned constituents, the council and wind farm operators after he was approached 18 months ago.
In a national newspaper article yesterday, some Kessingland villagers claimed that Mr Aldous had done little to lobby on their behalf.
Jean Purkis, 76, a member of the Kessingland Wind Turbine Pressure Group, told The Sunday Telegraph that Mr Aldous, who also owns a further one-fifth share in 55 acres of farmland next to his home which has been transformed into a solar-energy farm, “hasn’t done anything for us”. She added: “Now we can see why.”
But Mr Aldous said: “These turbines obtained planning permission in 2008/09 – it was way before I was MP for the area. This was a situation that I inherited.
“There were various things looked at, but planning permission had been conducted properly and I do not see any reason to doubt that.”
Since they started operating by Kessingland and Gisleham, people in both villages, near Lowestoft, have complained about the noise.
Last October, operators of the 125m turbines, Triodos Renewables, said it had voluntarily installed sound management modules on both of the structures.
The pressure group has also raised fears that one of the wind turbines at Kessingland could distract motorists on the A12, although Suffolk County Council says it has it has investigated the so-called “shadow flicker” and there are no implications for road safety. Mr Aldous said he had detailed the family farms in the parliamentary register of interests and the schemes on family farms were not something that he sought to hide.
He added that he believed that the energy industry provided an opportunity for his constituency, and welcomed the government’s plans to give more say to local communities over planning applications.
Annabelle Dickson, Political Editor |