Lincolnshire residents have today been granted greater powers to veto the county’s growing numbers of wind farms, which opponents say are industrialising the local landscape.
The government’s new planning guidelines give local views precedence over national energy targets - though additional measures will also enable communities to receive greater financial incentives for accepting them.
Lincolnshire County Council has welcomed the new rules, having previously issued its commitment to halting the ‘unrestrained spread’ of turbines throughout the county.
Executive member for the environment, Coun Colin Davie said: “We welcome any proposals that give local people a greater say on developments in their community.
“This will make sure that our beautiful and historic landscape isn’t decimated for what appears to be very limited gain, bring a better balance between our need for green energy and inappropriate developments that ruin the very environment we’re trying to protect.”
Coun Davie has highlighting the ongoing Orby Wind Farm Inquiry as an example of the drawn out and costly battles local communities and planning authorities have had to fight to prevent unwanted developments, which he hopes today’s changes will solve once and for all.
“The county, district and parish councils alongside the local community have objected to development on this site for a decade,” he said.
“Hopefully these new measure will stop it going ahead.”
The government intends the planning changes to empower local communities.
“We want to give local communities a greater say on planning,to give greater weight to the protection of the landscape, heritage and local amenity,” said communities and local government secretary Eric Pickles.
But in a bid to increase supported forms of renewable energy generation to cut carbon emissions, the changes also offer communities a five-fold increase in the financial incentives available from hosting wind farm.
Medium sized wind farms would generate around £100,000 for local communities, the equivalent of up to £400 per household, which could fund local projects, reduce energy bills or be paid in cash to affected residents.
The energy secretary Ed Davey said: “It is important that onshore wind is developed in a way that is truly sustainable – economically, environmentally and socially – and today’s announcement will ensure that communities see the windfall from hosting developments near to them, not just the wind farm.”
In Lincolnshire, however, where a recent survey indicated two thirds of the population was opposed to wind farms, Coun Davie believes few communities will be swayed by the incentives.
“That should help bring a halt to unrestrained invasion of farms across the county - something local people have been calling for,” he said.