MP’s letter: Wind Farms - Keep decisions at local level

Readers know my views on wind farms: I am totally and wholeheartedly opposed to them.

They ruin the views of our countryside and can cause great distress to those who live nearby them.

Some people are even said to go mad from the constant whirring when they live too close to them.

What’s more, they make no economic sense as they require subsidies in order to make a profit – taking money from taxpayers and handing it over to landowners and energy firms.

In addition to being the Member of Parliament for Gainsborough,

I have served as president of the Lincolnshire Ramblers, and there are few parts of the country better suited to long country walks than our county.

All this would be ruined, or at the very least put in serious jeopardy, by on-shore wind farms.

Luckily for us, the planning committee of West Lindsey District Council has proved adept at gauging the reaction to wind turbine proposals – a reaction which has been almost universally opposed to these ominous insertions into our countryside.

Many will have followed the saga of the Hemswell Cliff proposal, the fight against which was ably led by VOCAT – the Villages of the Cliff Against Turbines – chaired by Ernie Coleman.

The planning committee, again, responded to the appeals by local people and refused permission.

The applicant, RWE Energy, is now appealing the planning committee’s decision.

As you may have heard, I have written to Eric Pickles MP, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, seeking his intervention in this case. As a Conservative Member of Parliament,

I stand 100 per cent behind localism in government, and planning is one of the most important areas where decisions must be taken closest to the people affected by them, as well as broadly reflecting their views.

There is a very real danger of deep-pocketed energy companies drawing out the planning appeals process as long as possible in the hopes of intimidating district councils, parish councils, and other concerned locals into silence owing to the costs of continuing these cases.

We cannot allow this to happen, and I hope the Secretary of State will agree with us that local decision-making powers are paramount.

The European question refuses to go away, and the pressure we have brought to bear on this Government has borne fruit.

When voters are considering who they will choose in upcoming European elections, they should remember that there is only one party which both has promised to hold a referendum on Europe and has a realistic chance of forming the government.

A Conservative majority in 2015, unshackled by the current cumbersome coalition, will pave the way to a full renegotiation of our membership of the EU, followed by a referendum in which the public will decide whether we stay in or whether we leave.

I have said again and again that it is the people who must decide, and I am happy to see progress being made, but it still depends on voters choosing wisely.

Sir Edward Leigh

MP for Gainsborough