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Calls for wind farm clarity

The Government should publish a strategic plan detailing how many onshore wind turbines will be built and where, the Campaign to protect Rural England (CPRE) has stated.

1,826 onshore wind turbines are currently planned inEngland, with 8,581 for theUKoverall. The CPRE is arguing for planning inspectors to put more weight on local concerns.

According to their research, the number of turbines built, being built or awaiting approval in the English countryside has risen from 685 in 2008 to over 4,100 this March.

CPRE chief executive Shaun Spiers said: “CPRE accepts onshore wind in the right places as part of the mix required to meet theUK’s carbon reduction targets, but we are seeing more and more giant turbines sited in inappropriate locations.

“Communities feel increasingly powerless in the face of speculative applications from big, well-funded developers, and this risks undermining public support for the measures needed to tackle climate change.

“The Government must take responsibility and set out far more clearly a framework for meeting the country's energy needs while protecting our matchless countryside.”

But Renewable UK’s director of policy, Gordon Edge, said: “Onshore wind is the cheapest source of low-carbon power and restricting its development would jeopardise our firm commitment to offer value for money to the consumer, as well as green energy.

“It’s clear that only some locations are suitable for wind, but the way to identify those is by assessing each wind farm on its own merits, not the top-down approach the CPRE is proposing.”

An Ipsos MORI survey of 1,009 adults released last week, on behalf of Renewable UK, found 66% of people either ‘strongly favour’ or ‘tend to favour’ the use of wind power in the UK, with 8% tending to oppose or strongly opposed.

Asked whether they found the look of wind farms on the landscape ‘acceptable’ or not, on a scale of 1-10 where 1 is ‘completely unacceptable’ and 10 ‘completely acceptable’, 29% of people gave an answer in the 1-5 range, and 68% in the 6-10 range.

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