Tory challenge on support for windfarms

Owen Paterson MP and Anne-Marie Trevelyan.
Owen Paterson MP and Anne-Marie Trevelyan.

A would-be MP in north Northumberland has challenged her opponents to condemn plans for thousands more publicly-subsidised wind turbines.

Conservatives say that they are the only party that would end the public subsidy for newly-planned onshore wind farms in the UK. A Tory Government would also ensure that large-scale onshore wind farms in England and Wales are determined through the locally-led planning system – not the national infrastructure regime.

They also point to their changing of planning rules in England to give greater protection for landscape and heritage, but add that they will go further and amend planning policy in England to give even greater protection to locally-valued landscape, heritage and other local concerns.

Conservative parliamentary candidate for Berwick, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, said: “Many families in north Northumberland, who are concerned that windfarms could be approved locally without their views being heard, will be appalled to hear about these plans for a massive expansion of onshore wind – I challenge Sir Alan Beith and the Liberal Democrat and Labour candidates to either condemn them or come clean to local people about their plans for more windfarms.

“Now that we have enough onshore wind power to meet our renewables target, we should be ending billpayer-funded subsidies for newly planned projects and give local communities the decisive say on them, but only a Conservative government that would deliver that.

“At the next election, local people now have a clear choice; between the strong leadership of the Conservatives who will protect our local natural beauty for our children and grandchildren – or a vote for any other party which would lead to the chaos of more publicly-subsidised windfarms.”

Labour candidate Scott Dickinson reacted to the challenge, saying: “The policy on onshore wind turbines in Northumberland is clear. We’ll continue to back local communities to the full extent that the Government Anne-Marie Trevelyan supports will allow us.

“She’s quick to attack onshore wind turbines and subsidies, but silent on offshore wind turbines. Her campaign has benefitted from significant donations from offshore wind turbine developers yet she’s stayed quiet about her close links with people who have a direct interest in promoting offshore wind.

“Since she’s in the mood for questions, maybe she’ll let the residents of north Northumberland know who is funding her campaign through her ‘secret dining club’ and confirm that individuals and companies linked to wind-turbine development are not funnelling money into her expensive and well-funded campaign to try to buy Berwick?”

As previously reported by the Gazette, Alexander Temerko, a Russian businessman with offshore wind interests in the North East has donated almost £9,000 in campaign materials to Berwick Conservatives.