Tories to put the brakes on wind turbines

CALLING TIME: Is it the beginning of the end for wind farms like these with the Tories poised to slash subsidies?
CALLING TIME: Is it the beginning of the end for wind farms like these with the Tories poised to slash subsidies?
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The Conservatives are poised to slow down or halt the spread of wind turbines in rural areas like South Holland.

Steps could include slashing subsidies, tighter planning restrictions and capping the output of onshore turbines.

One national press report says Prime Minister David Cameron is considering going into the next election promising new restrictions on wind farms as “influential Tories launch an attempt to rid the countryside of turbines”.

South Holland and The Deepings MP John Hayes has already helped introduce new planning rules to give residents a greater say in resisting wind turbines and says the Government’s “direction of travel is clear”.

He said: “The Government is resolute in its determination that local communities should not have their wishes overridden by wind turbine zealots or greedy developers. There has been a change of heart from the heart of Government.

“We will back local councils whenever and however we can in resisting unsuitable applications for wind turbines.

“This is a direction of travel I have been advocating for a very long time. I have played my part in moving the debate on, along with others, and I know that the party in Parliament and ministers feel as I do that enough is enough.”

Tony Fear, from the protest group Stop West Pinchbeck Wind Farm, welcomed the tougher stance from the Tories and is keen to see subsidies cut.

He said: “The financial benefits of having a wind farm for both the landowners and the wind farm operators are just massive.

“It’s all about the money – removing some of that money is a good thing.”

Mr Fear accepts climate change is an issue, but says: “I can’t see how you can solve the problem with wind farms.”

Jubilant villagers in Sutton St Edmund defeated Wind Ventures Ltd’s plan to put six turbines the height of Salisbury Cathedral at Treading Field.

As they celebrated in October, they were paying off a £40,000 bill for lawyers who represented them at a planning inquiry.

Wind farm victim Jane Davis, who quit her home at Deeping St Nicholas over wind farm noise, said every village that fights a wind farm loses around £50,000 – money that would normally go into the local economy.

She launched a legal battle, which ended in 2011 with an out of court settlement and a gagging clause, after her family stopped sleeping at their home in December 2006 and quit altogether in May 2007.

Jane said: “It took six years of our lives away.”

She said hundreds of thousands are wiped off the value of homes when turbines appear – between 20 and 28 per cent of each home’s value – but that is not a basis for refusing planning consent and it’s “about time” the Government got tough.