New rules make it easier to block wind turbines

Campaign group No To Local Wind Farms has produced this image to show what a wind farm near Corringham would look like
Campaign group No To Local Wind Farms has produced this image to show what a wind farm near Corringham would look like

Local communities are to be given more powers to block onshore wind farms when new planning rules come into force.

Planning guidance in England will be changed to ensure that local opposition to turbines can override national energy targets.

Communities and local government secretary Eric Pickles told Parliament: “We want to give local communities a greater say on planning,to give greater weight to the protection of the landscape, heritage and local amenity.”

But at the same time the incentives to accept such developments will increase as communities are offered even greater benefits from developers.

Medium sized wind farms would generate around £100,000 for local communities, which could fund local projects, reduce energy bills or be paid in cash to affected residents.

It would down to the developers and the community to work together to decide how the money would be best spent.

Lincolnshire County Council said it welcomed any proposals that give local people a greater say on developments in their community.

Coun Colin Davie, executive member for the environment, said: “Hopefully, these changes will put a stop to wind farms going ahead against local wishes.”

“We suspect that here in Lincolnshire very few communities will be swayed by ‘incentives’ from energy companies. That should help bring a halt to the unrestrained invasion of wind farms across the county – something local people have been calling for.”

“This will make sure that our beautiful and historic landscape isn’t decimated for what appears to be very limited gain, bringing a better balance between our need for green energy and inappropriate developments that ruin the very environment we’re trying to protect.”

Gainsborough MP and outspoken objector to wind farms Edward Leigh said it was good news for communities that are ‘fighting the wind farm epidemic’.

“Local people must be heard when it comes to wind turbine applications, and their voice must be the most important one in decision-making over planning,” he said.

“We have brought a lot of pressure to bear on the government so I’m very happy they have been sensible about this.”

“It shows the government is listening to the concerns of rural people.”

There are more than 4,000 wind turbines across the country, which generate enough power for 2.5 million homes.

The industry attracted £1.6 billion in private investment in the 2011 - 2012 financial year, and supports around 1,800 jobs.

What do you think about the changes? Get in touch by emailing newsroom@gainsboroughstandard.co.uk