WIND TURBINES – COMMONS ACCEPTS CASE FOR ACTION ON BUFFER ZONES
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WIND TURBINES – COMMONS ACCEPTS CASE FOR ACTION ON BUFFER ZONES

The case for an onshore wind turbine buffer zone was put to the Commons.
The case for an onshore wind turbine buffer zone was put to the Commons and the proposals approved by the House without a vote. A ten minute rule bill, the Onshore Wind Turbines (Proximity of Habitation) Bill was introduced by Peter Luff, MP for Mid Worcestershire, and given its first reading



Peter explained,



“Using the so-called ten minute rule bill procedure, I was able to raise an important question that affects hundreds of communities up and done the country – and of course in the Vale of Evesham. Sadly these bills hardly even become law – and one introduced so late in the session stands no chance whatsoever – but it has got this issue talked about at national level for the first time, and that was my purpose.”



Peter told the House of Commons that his proposal was deliberately modest in its scope. He proposed that there should be no specific restriction on turbines below 25 metres in height, while wind turbines up to 50 metres high should not be located closer than half a mile to a home. Larger ones, up to 100 metres, should be at least a mile and the largest, above 100 metres, should be at least one and a half miles from a home. As an alternative he offered a system modelled on the Danish approach which states minimum distances in proportion to the height of the turbines.



In his speech, in which he emphasised his strong commitment to renewable energy technologies, including onshore wind, Peter said,



“It was a visit to the home of two of my constituents, in the small settlement of Sherriff’s Lench in the Vale of Evesham that was the start of the process that led me to this Bill. When I saw just how close Scottish Power Renewables planned to put a 125 metre wind turbine to their home, part of a larger wind farm planned for the area, I realised I really wouldn’t like that done to me.”



He also clarified the Bill’s implications,



“The Bill will add to planning law, not detract from it – so all the other tests and protections, whether related to noise, environmental impact or sites of special scientific interest, for example, would remain in place. So I don’t think we will ever see a wind farm on top of the Malverns or on Bredon Hill in Worcestershire.”



“Currently only around a quarter of all onshore wind farm applications succeed – this proportion could increase significantly if there were clear guidelines.



“It should help householders and communities, local authorities who currently lack adequate guidance on wind turbine locations AND the wind farm industry to pursue the right sites.”



Although Peter was obliged to nominate a day for second reading of the Bill, this has no practical effect and is simply a Commons procedural point; the Bill will make no further progress in this Parliamentary session.



ENDS


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