EDITOR – I was disappointed to read in these pages that a Lincolnshire County Councillor recently felt it necessary to not only encourage residents to object to a proposal for a wind farm, but also to give tips on how to object.
This seems even more remarkable given that he is the council’s portfolio holder for “green issues”. Maybe this should be changed to “anti-green issues”.
It clearly reflects the negative stance taken by Lincolnshire County Council’s executive in their Wind Energy Position Statement published this June, which aims to make it virtually impossible for new wind farms to be built in our county.
If our district council planning authorities bow to the pressure from the county councillors and further wind developments do not go ahead, then we can only hope that they have other plans to enable Lincolnshire to generate clean, unpolluting electricity.
No one would advise people to ignore a doctor when they are ill, but when we are being told by all the leading scientists that our climate is changing for the worse due to the way we generate our energy and that we need to switch to low carbon sources of energy as quickly as possible, our county council appears to advise us to ignore this.
This anti-wind farms stance is inconsistent with the new National Planning Policy Framework which states that planning should help in “securing radical reductions in greenhouse gas emissions” and that local authorities should “design their policies to maximise renewable and low carbon energy development while ensuring that adverse impacts are addressed”, and “consider identifying suitable areas for renewable and low carbon energy sources”.
More locally, our Central Lincolnshire Core Strategy states that it aims to “Promote the use and development of low carbon and renewable energy” and that “renewable and low carbon sources of energy and associated infrastructure will be actively promoted and supported where the impacts are or can be made acceptable.”
Maybe the impacts of that individual wind farm would be unacceptable, as I don’t live next door its not really for me to comment. But the stance taken by the county council is to block applications rather than to review each on a case-by-case basis.
Not only does the county council’s position statement fly in the face of local and central government planning advice, but the government recently published an update of its Public Attitudes Tracker, showing that 77 per cent of people support the use of renewable energy to provide electricity and only four per cent oppose renewables.
Two-thirds of those questioned (66 per cent) support the development of onshore wind as a source of renewable energy, with just 12 per cent opposing it.
Solar power gets 82 per cent public support, offshore wind enjoys 73 per cent and wave and tidal also scores highly at 72 per cent.
On the question of energy security, the survey showed that 74 per cent of people are concerned about the UK becoming too dependent on energy from other countries and 71 per cent of people are worried that the UK is not investing fast enough in alternative sources of energy.
Clearly the silent majority of the public are more supportive of renewable energy than some local politicians believe. It is a shame that they remain so silent when the stakes are so high.