Bridlington MP Greg Knight has welcomed changes to planning law which will give local residents a stronger voice in opposing wind turbines.
New planning guidance from the Department for Communities and Local Government will now make clear that the need for renewable energy does not automatically override the concerns of local communities. It will also give greater weight to landscape and visual impact concerns.
Mr Knight has repeatedly expressed concerns to Ministers about the number of wind farms applications in East Yorkshire.
Mr Knight said: “Many local campaigns objecting to an inappropriately sited onshore wind farm have been crushed when, on a planning appeal, local opinion has been overridden by a planning inspector giving greater weight to national energy targets.
“The changes announced mean that this is reversed and more weight has to be given to local views. This is great news for those fighting unwanted wind turbines across East Yorkshire.”
New figures show there is currently approximately 6.3GW (4074 turbines) of onshore wind in operation, 6.7GW (2857 turbines) under construction or awaiting construction and 5.7GW (2995 turbines) in the planning system.
“The 2020 target for the UK was to have 13GW capacity by then. This target has already been hit – seven years early, so there is no need for any more wind farms to be constructed in the East Riding,” continued Mr Knight.
One such contentious application was for the development of nine turbines at Fraisthorpe - which was allowed on appeal by an inspector after a public inquiry in December last year.
Councils, residents, world famous artist David Hockney and Bridlington Civic Society objected to the plans. They said that despite the concerns about the turbines’ impact on the landscape and objections from hundreds, inspector Ken Barton had ignored the feelings of the public.
Mr Barton said in his report: “I conclude the benefits, would in this case, outweigh any adverse impacts.”
The legal changes are part of a package of measures that also significantly increase the amount of money communities will receive for agreeing to host wind farms nearby, with householders set to get hundreds of pounds off energy bills.