Conservatives welcome wind farm planning announcement

Burton Wold Windfarm , Burton Latimer
Burton Wold Windfarm , Burton Latimer

Conservative Members of Parliament in Northamptonshire and the Party’s Parliamentary Candidate for Corby & East Northamptonshire have today welcomed the changes to planning law which will ensure local residents affected by wind farm proposals will have a proper say in whether wind turbines are sited in or near their communities.

They say the new planning guidance supporting the planning framework from the Department for Communities and Local Government will make clear that the need for renewable energy does not automatically override environmental protections and the planning concerns of local communities.

They also suggest that it will also give greater weight to landscape and visual impact concerns.

In welcoming the announcement Chris Heaton-Harris, MP for Daventry, said: “If you have been involved in any local campaign to fight an inappropriately sited onshore wind farm, you will know that on every occasion local opinion is trumped at the planning appeal by national energy policy/targets.

“The changes announced mean that this is reversed and more weight has to be given to local opinion. From what I can gather, subsidies will also be reviewed on an annual basis. This is superb news for those fighting unwanted wind turbines across Daventry and across the whole of England.

“I truly believe that this announcement brings about the beginning of the end of new onshore wind turbines across England. It is extraordinarily excellent news.”

Peter Bone, MP for Wellingborough and Rushden, said: “Conservative ministers are to be congratulated for pushing through a reform to planning regulations which will mean that when local councils turn down wind farm proposals, they will not be overturned on appeal.

“No will mean no. This change will be welcomed by my constituents who have concerns about the spread of unsightly, unwanted and uneconomic wind farms.”

Thomas Pursglove, the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Corby and East Northamptonshire, said: “Having knocked on many doors in the last few months in Corby and East Northamptonshire, I am very aware of how concerned local people are about the wind farm issue. ‘No’ really should mean ‘No’ and this is exactly what this announcement should ensure – true localism in action.

“This policy change has come about through the vigorous campaigning of local communities up and down the country who for too long have been ridden roughshod over and I am delighted that Conservative Ministers have listened to their concerns. Like many local people, I am against wind farms, full stop.”

Brian Binley, MP for Northampton South, said: “The Northamptonshire MP’s lobby has been pressing for this sort of measure for some time, and I am delighted that the Government has listened and acted. The new measures mean that the local voice is now predominant in terms of the decisions relating to the siting of these appalling windmills, when before it was a very dubious concept called the ‘national interest’ that held sway. I am proud of the work we have done in this respect.”

Philip Hollobone, MP for Kettering, said: “The borough of Kettering has a very successful windfarm at Burton Wold, but local people don’t want wind turbines everywhere. The new planning powers should better enable Kettering Council to protect the rest of the borough from more windfarms.”

Andrea Leadsom, MP for South Northamptonshire, said: “Today’s announcement is a massive step forward for localism and whilst this is not the end for onshore wind farms, I am hopeful it will be the end for unwanted developments and finally the views of local communities should win the day.”

A spokesman for the group added: “New figures also released today show there is currently approximately 6.3GW (4,074 turbines) of onshore wind in operation, 6.7GW (2,857 turbines) under construction or awaiting construction and 5.7GW (2,995 turbines) in planning system.

“Our 2020 target was to have 13GW capacity. This target has already been hit – seven years early.”