MP’s wind farm worries

EDITOR – Many of us in the countryside have been concerned about the growing threat of wind farms blighting the splendid landscapes we have held dear for so long.

I recently joined forced with more than 100 of my Parliamentary colleagues in signing a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron about this all important issue.

We have asked that the subsidy for on-shore wind farms be scrapped and that the new National Planning Policy Framework, which remains under consideration, be revised to ensure local views matter when determining applications for new on-shore turbines.

Many landowners are aware of the profitability of wind farms, but they might not be aware that most of this comes from the largesse of the public purse: wind farms only make economic sense for country people because of the massive subsidy that comes from our taxes.

This subsidy is simply not tenable in times of want when we have to make very difficult decisions about our health system, our schools, and the way our armed services operate.

As someone of a conservative disposition, I am entirely in favour of preserving the sacred inheritance of our countryside and our environment.

An ecosystem once ruined can take generations to renew. But I remain unconvinced of the efficacy of subsidising wind farms which, while they do create energy, only do so unreliably and at great cost to the natural beauty of our surroundings.

The 3,000 turbines currently operating receive a subsidy of more than £400 million, which seems grossly out of proportion to the energy they produce.

Some have claimed that were the entirety of the British countryside covered in wind farms, it would still not produce enough energy to provide for this country’s demand on electricity.

The most important thing is that these wind farms never be erected in the face of the strong opposition of those who live nearby them.

Many residents of the Gainsborough constituency have written to me about the National Planning Policy Framework and expressed their concern over the implications of a ‘pro-growth’ agenda that might be built into the NPPF.

I attribute great weight to the well-considered opinions of our folks on the ground, and especially of the numerous devoted members of the Women’s Institute who have written to me to voice their opinion and make sure it is heard. I salute them for their public commitment and would like to let them know that they have been heard.

We all know the importance of the economy, and how it affects all other aspects of our society and the way it functions.

Still, I am sure people around Lincolnshire will agree with me that ensuring economic growth and opportunities for all should not be done at a permanent cost to our countryside.

I have expressed my opinion to the Cabinet, that there are already more than 100,000 approved planning applications for homes and that local voices must be the determining factor when decided planning policy for the country. I remain hopeful that our voice, added to those of many around the country, will be heard.

EDWARD LEIGH

MP for Gainsborough Constituency