Agenda item

Motion from Councillor Geoff Harvey

Onshore wind is the cheapest new source of energy in the UK today - and the UK is the windiest country in Europe. New government policy is now needed to realise these benefits. Onshore wind can play a key role in an ambitious industrial strategy delivering clean, cheap and smart energy. Furthermore, onshore wind energy is vital to our aim of achieving 2050 net zero greenhouse gas emissions. Government statistics show that 79% of people now support onshore wind - fifteen times the proportion opposed. This Council resolves to make representations to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to request that the National Planning Policy Framework is amended so that applications for small-scale onshore wind developments in England of no more than five megawatts are treated in the same way as any other application for renewable and low carbon energy.

 

Decision:

Council AGREED the following motion:

 

Onshore wind is the cheapest new source of energy in the UK today - and the UK is the windiest country in Europe. New government policy is now needed to realise these benefits. Onshore wind can play a key role in an ambitious industrial strategy delivering clean, cheap and smart energy. Furthermore, onshore wind energy is vital to our aim of achieving 2050 net zero greenhouse gas emissions. Government statistics show that 79% of people now support onshore wind - fifteen times the proportion opposed. This Council resolves to make representations to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to request that the National Planning Policy Framework is amended so that applications for small-scale onshore wind developments in England of no more than five megawatts are treated in the same way as any other application for renewable and low carbon energy.

Minutes:

In the absence of Councillor Geoff Harvey, Councillor Peter Fane moved the following motion, as set out in the agenda:-

 

“Onshore wind is the cheapest new source of energy in the UK today - and the UK is the windiest country in Europe. New government policy is now needed to realise these benefits. Onshore wind can play a key role in an ambitious industrial strategy delivering clean, cheap and smart energy. Furthermore, onshore wind energy is vital to our aim of achieving 2050 net zero greenhouse gas emissions. Government statistics show that 79% of people now support onshore wind - fifteen times the proportion opposed. This Council resolves to make representations to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to request that the National Planning Policy Framework is amended so that applications for small-scale onshore wind developments in England of no more than five megawatts are treated in the same way as any other application for renewable and low carbon energy.”

 

Councillor Dr. Martin Cahn seconded the motion.

 

In moving the motion, Councillor Fane reminded the Council that it had agreed to be a zero carbon authority by 2050 and to achieve this, more renewable energy sources were required in the District. Public support for wind farms remained above 75%, but unfortunately the National Planning Policy Framework made it difficult for even small scale onshore wind turbines to be given planning permission.

 

Councillor Heather Williams supported the zero carbon target, but was not convinced that the solution lay in onshore wind farms.

 

Councillor Steve Hunt spoke in support of the motion, by stating that public support for fracking was at only 12%, whilst renewable energy generated by wind turbines had more support and would help reduce carbon emissions.

 

Councillor Bridget Smith explained that the Council had to provide infrastructure for new homes and faced challenges due to development in the Cambridge to Oxford corridor. Providing renewable energy through wind turbines should be an essential part of this development. It was noted that a relatively small scale wind farm in Gamlingay generated energy for 100 homes and provided £7,000 a year to be put towards green infrastructure.

 

Councillor Nick Wright stated that he supported the construction of wind turbines provided that they were located in the right area. He received regular complaints from residents regarding the noise generated by a wind farm over the border in Huntingdonshire.

 

Councillor Deborah Roberts doubted that wind farms could produce the energy required and suggested that instead the solution lay in improving the efficiency of existing technology such as using coal and nuclear power to produce electricity. She concluded that wind farms should not be constructed against the wishes of local people and their parish councils.

 

Councillor Peter Topping supported the Council’s target of zero carbon emissions by 2050, however he did not believe that onshore wind farms would make a significant difference.

 

Councillor Gavin Clayton stated that the visual impact of wind turbines was subjective and inevitably wind turbines would be opposed by some residents, who were likely to oppose any new local development.

 

Councillor Judith Rippeth supported this motion for the sake of future generations.

 

Councillor Bill Handley agreed with Councillor Wright that wind farms could be controversial, but noted that the motion referred only to small-scale developments.

 

Councillor Pippa Heylings expressed her disappointment that some members had expressed reservations about the provision of renewable energy. She agreed that wind turbines needed to be constructed in the correct place and it was the job of the Planning Committee to ensure this. Public opinion supported onshore wind turbines.

 

Councillor Brian Milnes spoke in favour of onshore wind turbines, as part of the solution to achieving the zero carbon emissions target.

 

Councillor Tom Bygott stated that the percentage of power generated by coal and nuclear was in decline and both onshore and offshore wind turbines were part of the solution. He considered offshore wind farms to be more economically viable. He asserted that the visual impact of electricity pylons was more of a concern than wind turbines and that power generated by onshore wind power, with the cables underground, could reduce the number of electricity pylons.

 

Councillor Dr. Martin Cahn asserted that the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework was effectively a ban on onshore wind turbines and this was unsatisfactory. Offshore wind farms were not as economically viable as onshore turbines and could do nothing to assist the Council in achieving its zero carbon emissions target.

 

Upon being put to the vote, votes were cast as follows:

 

In favour (26):

Councillors Henry Batchelor, John Batchelor, Anna Bradnam, Dr. Martin Cahn, Gavin Clayton, Dr. Claire Daunton, Dr. Douglas de Lacey, Clare Delderfield, Peter Fane, Neil Gough, Jose Hales, Bill Handley, Philippa Hart, Dr. Tumi Hawkins, Pippa Heylings, Steve Hunt, Peter McDonald, Brian Milnes, Dawn Percival, Judith Rippeth,  Bridget Smith, Hazel Smith, Dr. Ian Sollom, Dr. Aidan Van de Weyer, John Williams and Eileen Wilson.

 

Against (8)

Councillors Ruth Betson, Graham Cone, Sue Ellington, Deborah Roberts, Peter Topping, Bunty Waters, Heather Williams and Nick Wright.

 

Abstain (0)

 

The Chairman declared that the motion had been to be carried.

 

RESOLVED:

 

Onshore wind is the cheapest new source of energy in the UK today - and the UK is the windiest country in Europe. New government policy is now needed to realise these benefits. Onshore wind can play a key role in an ambitious industrial strategy delivering clean, cheap and smart energy. Furthermore, onshore wind energy is vital to our aim of achieving 2050 net zero greenhouse gas emissions. Government statistics show that 79% of people now support onshore wind - fifteen times the proportion opposed. This Council resolves to make representations to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to request that the National Planning Policy Framework is amended so that applications for small-scale onshore wind developments in England of no more than five megawatts are treated in the same way as any other application for renewable and low carbon energy.