Wind farms ‘can bring benefits’

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COMMUNITIES fighting plans to put wind farms in their areas have said the Government’s idea of offering “appropriate incentives” to take on the technology would make no difference.

The energy minister Charles Hendry said last week that people should be given a greater say about where wind farms were sited and thus receive benefits from them.

He added: “We will be putting in place significant real benefits so communities can see how they really benefit from hosting a facility on behalf of the national interest rather than something they see imposed on them at present.”

It was implied that money from the wind farms would be invested in the community to improve services like schools or leisure centres or to cut council tax.

But Derryn Rolfe, chairman of the Stop Kelmarsh Wind farm action group, which has been fighting E.ONs plans to build wind turbines next to the Battle of Naseby site, said: “No one in this community is protesting about this for personal gain, we just don’t want it next to a historic site.

“We just want to protect this historic building and rural landscape and nothing would change that.”

The issue of wind farms also came up in parliament on Thursday last week when South Northamptonshire MP Andrea Leadsom was given permission to launch a debate at Westminster Hall.

She said: “Wind farms should not be seen as the main solution to achieving sources of renewable energy. I have tabled an amendment to the Localism Bill which will bring wind farms of up to 100 mega watts capacity under the new neighbourhood planning process.”

And further wind farm application was also submitted to Daventry District Council on Tuesday by energy developer Partnership for Renewables (PFR).

The company is hoping to put up a single turbine next to Boddington Reservoir, and regional manager Jerry Sturman said: “We have now completed all of the necessary environmental and technical studies of the site to give us confidence that it is an appropriate location for a single turbine development of this kind.

“Since announcing our investigation work in 2009 we have asked for valuable feedback from the local community and have worked hard to incorporate the comments provided into our plans.”

However Andrew Mills, who is heading up the Stop Boddington Wind Farm protest group, said: “There is a lot of frustration amongst residents that the application has been submitted despite promised elements of the consultation not taking place.

“For example we have not been provided with printed photo montages, and we are also told that we would have an opportunity to discuss the route and vehicle movements before the plans were submitted to influence the application.”

PFR is holding public exhibitions on February 28 at Byfield Village Hall and March 1 at Boddington Village Hall where people can view photo montages of the proposed development.