Lincolnshire MPs welcome government action over new onshore wind farms

Three Lincolnshire MPs have supported new measures introduced by the government to end subsidies for onshore wind farms from next year.

New onshore wind farms will be excluded from a subsidy scheme from April 1, 2016, a year earlier than planned.

Amber Rudd, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, told MPs that around 250 projects totalling 2,500 turbines are now unlikely to be built across the country because of the legislation.

She said: “Government support is designed to help technologies stand on their own two feet, not to encourage a permanent reliance on subsidy.

“We must continue to take tough judgements about what new projects get subsidies.

“We could end up with more onshore wind projects than we can afford – which would lead to either higher bills for consumers, or other renewable technologies, such as offshore wind, losing out on support.”

Funding for the subsidy comes from the Renewables Obligation, which is funded by levies added to household fuel bills.

Trade association for the wind industry, RenewableUK, has urged the government to reconsider its position and “think carefully” before implementing any cuts to financial support for onshore wind.

Chief executive, Maria McCaffery said: “People’s fuel bills will increase directly as a result of this government’s actions. If government was really serious about ending subsidy it should be working with industry to help us bring costs down, not slamming the door on the lowest cost option.”

The Nocton Fen wind farm proposal. Photo: Vattenfall

The Nocton Fen wind farm proposal. Photo: Vattenfall

The government has also announced that local residents must have the final say over whether onshore wind farm applications get the go-ahead in their area.

New planning rules revealed by the Department for Communities and Local Government mean that wind turbines should only get the go-ahead if they have been clearly backed by local people in a local or neighbourhood plan.

A six-week consultation is currently being held by Swedish energy company Vattenfall, who have proposed a wind farm at Nocton Fen in Lincolnshire.

Together, both these measures have been welcomed by Conservative MPs in the county, including Lincoln MP Karl McCartney, Sleaford and North Hykeham MP Stephen Phillips, and Gainsborough MP Sir Edward Leigh.

Karl McCartney. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Karl McCartney. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Karl McCartney said: “Local communities like ours here in Lincoln and Lincolnshire will now have the final say over planning applications for onshore wind turbines which will ensure only those schemes that have the support of local people can go ahead.

“And we are stopping tax and billpayer subsidies for new onshore wind farms so that energy bills are kept down.”

Stephen Phillips has been MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham since 2010

Stephen Phillips has been MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham since 2010

Stephen Phillips said: “The ending of subsidies for onshore wind turbines was a commitment in the manifesto I stood on, and I am delighted to see it being actioned so quickly. Subsidies add an extra chunk onto people’s energy bills and are no longer needed to support wind generation, and can mean that turbines are built where they are not needed.

“I am keen to see how this will affect specific proposed projects in my constituency, as I know how concerned many residents have been, and I will be keeping a close eye on this as we move forward.”

Gainsborough MP Sir Edward Leigh

Gainsborough MP Sir Edward Leigh

Sir Edward Leigh said: “For too long our communities have feared they were powerless to stop wind farm developments that they objected to from going ahead.

“Thanks to the Conservatives this will now change. This is part of our plan to give power back to communities and local people so that they can decide and determine the future of their areas – not be forced to accept decisions imposed on them.”