Suffolk: Waveney MP, Peter Aldous, to tell minister Eric Pickles he got it wrong on county energy schemes

Waveney MP Peter Aldous.
February 2014.

Picture: James Bass Waveney MP Peter Aldous. February 2014. Picture: James Bass

Tuesday, September 2, 2014
6:29 AM

Eric Pickles has got it wrong on two Suffolk renewable energy schemes, Conservative MP Peter Aldous has said ahead of a debate tomorrow where he will urge the government to call a fresh inquiry on a local application.

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The Waveney MP will call for the government to order a fresh planning inquiry into the controversial 125-metre high wind farm near Beccles, which is currently being contested by some of the local community in the High Court.

Waveney District Council refused Stamford Renewables’ application to build the turbine on land near Barsham last year, on noise and visual impact grounds. Mr Pickles declined to recover the case, despite strong local pressure for him to do so, after a successful appeal by the developer. In the Westminster Hall debate today, Mr Aldous will also call for the Department for Communities and Local Government to publish the details of all the cases called in by the Secretary of State so MPs can debate if its planning policy is working.

Mr Aldous will also cite the plans for the Ellough solar farm, which was given the go-ahead by local planners and recommended for approval by a planning 
inspectorate, but was turned down when it reached Mr Pickles’ desk.

He will tell a minister that he believes the way the two renewable energy project proposals were handled is wrong. “We have a planning authority in Waveney District Council, whose officers have done the right thing. They have put in place their own new policy from which they determine applications,” he said. “Based on the different reactions I have had to the two schemes, the way they have been handled is wrong.

“As far as the Ellough scheme is concerned I have had one person who has written to me against the scheme, that was the one the secretary of state decided to recover.”

But, Mr Aldous said, the wind farm proposal, which was opposed by many people living the Barsham area, had been given the go-ahead. He cited HALT, a residents’ group that was formed to fight the wind farm plans, Beccles Town Council and nine parish councils.

“I think the wrong case has been recovered,” he added.

He said that the Localism Act and local policy guidance had been put in place so that communities would not be excluded.

“Yet here we have a local community who have not been listened to,” he said.

He also raised concerns that the Broads Authority concerns about the impact on the valley had been ignored, and said 
he believed it would set a precedent.

The debate will be held in Westminster Hall in the Houses of Parliament this morning.

Do you have a story about a planning fight in your community? Email annabelle.dickson@archant.co.uk

1 comment

  • We all know that wind turbines mostly generate subsidies for the operating companies rather than efficient energy production and that is what drives the applications for them-eg in places like Haddenham in Cambridgeshire where a proposed site will only be able to operate a few hours out of 24 because of an inadequate substation capacity. However the most despicable aspect of planning applications by wind power companies ( and one assumes solar power companies) is the bribes they offer to local communities and parish councils to persuade them to support their application. In the above village there are some property owners whose life time investments will be seriously devalued by massive wind turbines in very close proximity to their homes . Support from members of the community who , because of local geography, will not be affected by the huge installations but have their eye on what £35K pa could be spent on, could sway the planners to accept the project. If wind companies have the money to buy support they should also have the money to compensate directly those affected but in principle they should not be allowed to whip up support this way. Consulting a community is appropriate, but the motives for support are not always as transparent as those for opposition.

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    Daisy Roots

    Tuesday, September 2, 2014

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