Yeo warns over turbine backlash

SENIOR Suffolk MP Tim Yeo has warned that a public backlash over onshore windfarms could hamper attempts to develop more sustainable energy – despite public support for the policy.

The South Suffolk MP is chairman of the House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, and was speaking after Lincolnshire county council became the first in Britain councillors a “presumption against the development of wind turbines.”

The construction of new onshore windfarms has become more controversial, with opposition groups being set up in many parts of the country.

But 68% of people said new wind farms were “an acceptable price to pay” for greener energy, according to the ComRes survey in The Independent newspaper.

It said support for wind farms was even higher, at 80%, among 18 to 44-year-olds, while it was 59% for the over-45s.

Mr Yeo told the EADT that there needed to be more onshore windfarms, but that care needed to be taken about where they were sited.

He said: “Onshore windfarms are much less expensive than those offshore, and require a much smaller government subsidy.

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“There is a backlash against them at the moment and they certainly need to be sited with sensitivity but I am concerned about the prospect of councillors taking a negative view like that in Lincolnshire.”

That county’s Tory leader Martin Hill said he did not want the county to be covered by a “forest of the things”.

“We have got them in Lincolnshire, we are not saying we are not going to have any more, but we feel we have already got 75 big turbines.”

Mr Yeo said: “I know that people living near turbines have concerns, and there needs to be care taken about their locations, but onshore windfarms are vital for the future energy needs of the country.”

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