A senior Tory MP and leading supporter of green energy is risking accusations of hypocrisy after objecting to plans for a giant wind turbine in his constituency.
As chairman of the Commons energy and climate change select committee, Tim Yeo has called for the urgent building of renewable energy sources and claimed it may be necessary ‘to bribe’ communities to accept wind farms.
The former environment minister also has close links to green firms and last year raked in more than £73,000 from directorships in the industry.
But he has joined local residents in opposing plans for a 130-metre turbine five miles from his home in his Suffolk South constituency.
Mr Yeo, 68, last night denied that his position made him a Nimby (Not in my back yard).
He told the Mail: ‘My own view is that wind turbines are a good idea, but I have always said in rural areas if the local community feels very strongly they should be able to say no in some circumstances.
‘Wind turbines can be environmentally very intrusive.
‘In this case there’s a little village, Belstead, with less than 200 people. It would be very prominent in relation to this little village and I fully understand their objections to it.’
Mr Yeo, who was last night speaking against the wind turbine at a public meeting, said: ‘I’ve promised to use all the influence I’ve got to persuade the local authority to reject it.
‘Onshore wind is a technology which has a contribution to make in Britain, in the right place.
‘But I don’t think they should be imposed on a little village where the residents think it would be environmentally damaging.’
David Cobbold, 75, chairman of Belstead Parish Council, admitted Mr Yeo’s intervention could be seen as ‘odd’ considering his position on green energy, but added: ‘He has been besieged by residents and has listened patiently to them.’
Mr Cobbold said: ‘It is a beautiful area criss-crossed with footpaths and they are going to plonk a 130-metre monster in the middle of it where it is going to affect everybody.’
The proposed turbine site at Pannington Hall, near Ipswich, is on land owned by the family of Peter Aldous, the Conservative MP who represents the neighbouring constituency.
The land is currently rented out to Jimmy’s Farm, the pig farm run by Jimmy Doherty that has featured in television series on BBC 2 and Channel 4.
Mr Yeo, who has been MP for South Suffolk since 1983, is facing deselection after the local Conservative Association’s executive committee voted to ‘not re-adopt’ him as its candidate.
He has been accused of not devoting enough time to his constituency.
Mr Yeo is chairman of a biofuel company, TMO Renewables, has worked for AFC Energy, a firm developing alkaline fuel cell technology, and has led meetings of renewable energy generation firm, Albion Community Power.
Partnerships for Renewables, which is behind the scheme, has said the turbine would generate enough electricity to supply 1,280 homes.
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