Yorkshire and the Humber Campaign to Protect Rural England

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Proliferation of wind farms

Wind turbine Wind turbine Photo: © James Russell, Creative Commons License

Yorkshire and the Humber has had more than its fair share of wind turbines and there are still more in the pipeline.

While CPRE supports renewable energy, the proliferation of wind turbines across the region has dramatically increased and many CPRE members are calling for a major re-think by the government on this particular form of renewable energy, with its huge impact on the visual landscape.

The large subsidies that wind power receives have led more people to question the economic viability of many of these schemes and CPRE has revised its policy and approach to this particular form of renewable energy which is affecting our landscape.

We are asking that the Government should recognise the ‘cumulative impact’ of wind turbines. Current government policy confusion encourages wind developers to make applications almost regardless of landscape impact or the suitability of the site.

Councils and local groups are overwhelmed by the number of applications, and developers often seem to be taking a scattergun approach hoping to find a weak local authority or a planning inspector who will give greater weight to ‘national targets’ than to local concerns.

Worryingly, the Growth and Infrastructure Act removes planning powers from local authorities that lose too many planning appeals. Given the unpredictable nature of planning inspectors’ decisions, they will have an added incentive to nod through applications even if they think they are inappropriate.

What we like to see as a matter of some urgency is for the government to:

  • provide more clarity about the total number of onshore wind turbines it expects to see built and where these might be located;
  • develop a strategic plan-led approach which recognises landscape capacity, including cumulative impacts of onshore wind turbines;
  • ensure local planning authorities seek to protect landscape character through their local plans and in planning decisions;
  • instruct the Planning Inspectorate to give significant weight when making decisions on development proposals to any local plans which have attempted to identify appropriate and inappropriate areas for onshore wind development; and
  • require the onshore wind industry to take legal and financial responsibility for decommissioning onshore wind turbines and restoring the landscape once they stop working or when they reach the end of their useful life.

Please see the full CPRE report on on-shore wind power

 

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