An Allerdale councillor has come under fire for claiming opposition to wind farms in his election leaflet just months after permission was granted for a turbine at his farm.
Allerdale council granted planning permission last November for a 113ft wind turbine at Councillor Jim Lister’s family farm of Oughterside Mill, near Aspatria.
Permission was sought in Coun Lister’s name and he addressed colleagues on the council’s development panel to speak in favour of the application.
Campaigning ahead of next week’s election, in which he hopes to keep his Solway ward seat, Coun Lister has distributed a Conservative Party campaign leaflet which states: “We oppose to unnecessary wind farms blighting our countryside, our landscapes and spectacular views.”
Lynne Harris, of Oughterside, said: “I find it very hypocritical that he’s saying he’s against wind turbines and yet he’s planning to put one up within 800m of people’s houses.”
Coun Lister said the turbine application for the farm was down to his son Robert, who now runs the family business.
Permission was sought in his name because that was the farm’s trading name, he added.
Coun Lister said: “I did ask him not to put a wind turbine up but my son’s never taken any notice of me. I did mention that it would be embarrassing politically.”
Coun Lister is a member of the council’s development panel but did not vote on the application.
He said: “If I had been allowed to sit on the panel I’d have voted against it but I wasn’t allowed to. It’s the Labour councillors who voted for it.”
He said he had addressed the panel at his son’s request.
He said: “I am against wind turbines, full stop.
“My son asked me to speak on his behalf as anybody within my ward can ask me to do.”
Asked whether he felt it was hypocritical to claim to be against wind farms while preparing for one to be built on his land, Coun Lister said: “I appreciate it appears that way.”
Coun Lister remains a partner in the family farm, along with his wife Emma, and has a financial interest in the business.
He said he did not think it was appropriate to prevent his son erecting a wind turbine.
He added: “You step back and allow the next generation to do their stuff. If it looked like he was bankrupting the business I might step in. If he’d set his mind to it I’d have to go along with that.”
Coun Lister, of West Moor End, Aspatria, is standing against Labour’s David King and the Green Party’s Steven Westgarth in the Solway ward.
Meanwhile, a watchdog is investigating Allerdale council’s handling of Coun Lister’s plan.
Objectors, concerned that Coun Lister addressed the panel and was “over familiar with another panel member”, have aproached the Local Government Ombudsman.
They received confirmation last week that the matter would be investigated.
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