Subsidy cuts ‘will halt’ wind farm applications

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FORTHCOMING renewable subsidy cuts will ‘halt’ the proliferation of onshore wind farm applications but until then opponents must ‘keep applying pressure’, the county council has advised.

Lincolnshire County Council’s executive members responded to a barrage of wind turbine related questions during the Ingoldmells leg of their Big Conversation Roadshow, held to address public concerns.

Council leader Coun Martin Hill, said he felt the county council was doing all it could to protect Lincolnshire from becoming industrialised by wind farms, but the biggest change would come from government cuts to developers’ subsidies.

Speaking at the Royal Arthur Centre last Monday night, he said: “The big battle is in government subsidies - when they are cut there will be less incentive for companies to set up the wind farms.

“Until then it’s all about applying pressure, it’s relentless but you’ve got to have the stamina to keep it up.

“We will give local groups advice on how to oppose applications and you should also lobby your district council.”

Although many of the meeting attendees were supportive of the county council’s offensive stance on wind farms, a South Kyme parish councillor felt greater coordination between the three tiers of local government was required to effectively fight the applications.

He said: “There’s no joined up thinking between county council, district council and parish councils in Lincolnshire - not everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet.

“I’ve attended public inquiries and I was appalled by the coherence between the various tiers of local government.

“Unless the culture changes, we will be in the same situation in four years’ time and the county will be blighted by turbines.”

Coun Hill explained there were regular meetings between local authorities ‘to make sure we all come together and work towards the same outcome’, on a number of issues.

Regarding wind farms in particular, Coun Hill referred to the county council’s Wind Energy Position Statement as a document intended to help achieve a coordinated approach across Lincolnshire.

“There’s unanimous concern about the proliferation of wind farms, which we felt were targeting Lincolnshire by stealth because the companies thought there would be least resistance,” he said.

“So we came up with the Wind Energy Position Statement so the district council could have something to defend themselves with when they turned down applications.”

Despite many district councils adopting the statement, Coun Hill agreed that in certain applications, the developers’ behaviour was ‘not very good in terms of how they treat local communities.’

l What do you think? Email andrew.hirst@jpress.co.uk.