New powers for locals to block wind turbines

It is interesting to note that the same announcement can generate three widely different reports in newspapers.  This one is from the Times:-

I hope someone on the Planning Committee of WDBC reads our posts!

 

New powers for local communities to block unsightly turbines will be announced today in a move hailed by Conservatives as marking the end of onshore wind farms.

Ed Davey, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, will announce a fivefold increase in the financial inducements on offer to communities that do want to host a wind farm, which would be worth up to £400 off an average household’s annual energy bill.

But the scheme is accompanied by a planning shake-up that makes it easier for communities to reject such projects.

Under the new rules, developers would have to consult communities even before seeking planning permission. If locals objected, the process would come to a halt.

New planning guidance would also reverse the current balance of assumptions under which national policy trumps local concerns. In future the reverse would be the case.

The agreement allows Mr Davey and the Liberal Democrats to trumpet extra financial support for wind farms. But Tories believe the planning shake-up will render such support moot because communities will use the new powers to send developers packing.

The shift follows the arrival of Michael Fallon in the Department for Energy and Climate Change, and has the full support of David Cameron. The Prime Minister has been assailed by Tory MPs who complain that wind farms have been foisted on reluctant communities.

Three years after Mr Cameron promised to lead the “greenest government ever”, today’s move marks another retreat from the his early ambitons. Senior government sources said there had been too great an emphasis on the benefits of renewable energy over local environmental considerations.

Eric Pickles, the Communities and Local Government Secretary, will amend secondary legislation to make it compulsory for developers to hold “pre-application consultation” with communities. He will also issue revised technical planning guidance so the drive for renewable energy does not over-ride environmental protections.

A Tory source said: “The PM feels that it is very important that local people are taken into account when it comes to wind farms and that is why new legislation will be brought forward so that if people don’t want wind farms they will be able to stop them.”

The package will also include an agreement for a fivefold increase in the community benefits developers offer, regarded as “bribes” by sceptics. It would mean an increase from £1,000 per megawatt of capacity per year to £5,000 for the lifetime of the windfarm.

A community agreeing to a medium-sized wind farm could receive a package of benefits worth £100,000 a year.

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3 Responses to New powers for locals to block wind turbines

  1. Robert Baldwin says:

    Gentlemen,

    Yes, I have seen the government’s announcement today and feel that is a step on the right direction and an example of giving the concept of ‘localism’ some teeth and substance.

    I have been in recent correspondence with Geoffrey Cox. MP, so was aware that an initiative was in the offing and that he had been working behind the scenes to press for this initiative.

    Since I am now a member of WDBC Planning Committee, I shall ensure that these measures are followed scrupulously by both planning officers and members, however, it is my duty to determine any application on its merits and adverse impacts.

    Best Regards,

    Cllr. Bob Baldwin (Deputy Leader WDBC)

  2. Chris Burchell says:

    Davidand and colleagues, Thanks for this! Why do I have a cynical feeling in my bones!? All kinds of concers arise from this. What role do the Parish Council now play in this process? How much authority will they now have as the ‘peoples representatives’? Who verifies the local referendum on a turbine proposal? Will the Parish Councillors now act at defacto PlanningOfficers at the ScopingLevel? How will those affected by long views outside such boundaries have a voice? Who will draw the boundaries around each proposal for community consultation What extra resources will Parish Councillors be given to cope with the very technical aspects of each case. Who moderates impartiality? Borough, County, Inspectorate? Independent? Where will the money come from to hold consultations and referendums for some 2000 to 3000 wind trubine planning applications which are already in planning? Will knowledgeable Planning Officers be assigned to each case by the Council?

    Any many more questions!!!!

    All the best, Chris

    Date: Thu, 6 Jun 2013 15:09:19 +0000 To: foghanger@hotmail.com

  3. Gary Vanstone says:

    I do feel somewhat cynical like Chris in two ways. Firstly localism was supposed to give local communities a say and turned out to be a sick joke since the opposite was true, until the Governement instruct the inspectors differently nothing will change. Secondly the proposals now to force the turbine companies to offer money to the local communities will prove to be very divisive within those communities. Suppose that Murex come back with a proposal for putting turbines along the ridge at ramsdown and borough cross and offer the local residents of Milton abbot and Kelly the equivalent of 25% off their electricity bills. I fear much of our support would drop away and the proposal would be much more difficult to stop.

    Our main hope is that these new guidelines make such proposals uneconomic but until the government change their energy policy I remain doubtful.

    Gary

    From: Chris Burchell [mailto:foghanger@hotmail.com] Sent: 07 June 2013 10:33 To: MABRAKE – Milton Abbot, BRadstone And KElly Action group.; David Gynn; Gary Vanstone; Johnathan Watson; Rosie Culverhouse; mike cuniffe Subject: RE: [New post] New powers for locals to block wind turbines

    Davidand and colleagues, Thanks for this! Why do I have a cynical feeling in my bones!? All kinds of concers arise from this. What role do the Parish Council now play in this process? How much authority will they now have as the ‘peoples representatives’? Who verifies the local referendum on a turbine proposal? Will the Parish Councillors now act at defacto PlanningOfficers at the ScopingLevel? How will those affected by long views outside such boundaries have a voice? Who will draw the boundaries around each proposal for community consultation What extra resources will Parish Councillors be given to cope with the very technical aspects of each case. Who moderates impartiality? Borough, County, Inspectorate? Independent? Where will the money come from to hold consultations and referendums for some 2000 to 3000 wind trubine planning applications which are already in planning? Will knowledgeable Planning Officers be assigned to each case by the Council?

    Any many more questions!!!!

    All the best, Chris

    _____

    Date: Thu, 6 Jun 2013 15:09:19 +0000 To: foghanger@hotmail.com

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