’Bribes’ for areas that accept a wind farm
Communities will be offered council tax discounts or cheaper electricity as part of plans to increase the number of wind farms in Britain, Charles Hendry, the Energy Minister will announce today.
Thousands of turbines will have to be built across the countryside over the next ten years in order to meet strict climate change targets.
But many of the best sites for onshore wind are also in beautiful landscapes and have been fiercely opposed by local communities.
Mr Hendry said the Labour Government’s approach of “hectoring” people into accepting wind farms has not worked. For example by comparing ‘Nimbies’ who opposed the new technology to those against seat belts.
Instead, he said communities can be encouraged to accept wind farms by ensuring turbines are built in the right place and bring financial benefits to the local area.
But critics said it was naive to expect communities to give up their opposition to the “inefficient technology” for a “bribe”.
In the past the Tories have sided with those who oppose wind farms because of the visual impact of the 300ft turbines on the surrounding countryside.
But Mr Hendry insisted that the new approach will ensure communities back the wind farms.
“There needs to be a new relationship between wind farms and the communities which host them. At present, too often a community can see what it will lose by having a wind farm in its midst, but it cannot see what it gains,” he said.
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