BREAKING NEWS: Victoria Atkins welcomes changes to Government’s wind farm policy

Victoria Atkins talks to Content Editor John Fieldhouse
Victoria Atkins talks to Content Editor John Fieldhouse

Victoria Atkins MP has welcomed new measures announced by the Government that will see the law changed so that all planning applications for large-scale onshore wind farms in England will be considered by elected councils accountable to their local communities.

In addition, changes also end bill payer subsidies for new onshore wind farms from April 2016.

Ms Atkins says the changes will ensure that the country meet its renewable energy commitments in a way that protects taxpayers and keeps bills low for working people.

She had encouraged the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd, to go further in controlling repeated applications from developers.

Speaking in the Commons, Ms Atkins said: “I welcome the statement, as will many residents of my constituency, which has borne more than its fair share of the brunt of the wind turbine industry.

“Will the Secretary of State consider a ‘two strikes and you’re out’ policy for developers who keep coming back again and again and tweaking their applications, costing local councils hundreds of thousands of pounds in legal fees and causing prolonged distress for local residents?”

The Secretary of State, the Rt. Hon. Amber Rudd said: “I think my Hon. friend, who makes a good point, will find that under the new regime as announced, the community have the final say, and councils will be in a much stronger position to make that clear to any developers that approach them.”

Outside the chamber, Ms Atkins said: “For too long, our communities have been powerless to stop large wind farm developments that they objected to from going ahead.

“I have travelled around Louth and Horncastle listening to local people’s views on wind farms.

“I have also visited sites where applications for wind farms have been made and seen for myself the potential impact on local communities. 

“I believe our local area already has more than its fair share of onshore wind farms.

“As such, I welcome the changes in the law, announced in the Queen’s Speech, meaning local people will have the final say on large onshore wind farm applications.

“I am also pleased we are stopping bill payer subsidies for new onshore wind farms so that energy bills are kept down.

“I am pleased to support the Conservative plan to give power back to communities and local people so that they can determine the future of their areas, rather than being forced to accept decisions imposed on them.”