Headlines: October 21st, 2009

The former Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, has called for councils to face an obligation to find sites for wind farms in their area. He told the annual conference of the British Wind Energy Association that targets for green energy were being delayed by people living in the countryside who wanted to protect ‘chocolate box’ views.

The conference in Liverpool heard that the number of first time approvals for applications for wind farms had fallen to one in four, the lowest level ever. Mr Prescott said councils were failing to meet their responsibilities to tackle climate change but the National Alliance of Wind Farm Action Groups attacked his speech as a puerile attack on Nimbyism.

Mr Prescott urged councillors to recognise that wind farms were part of Government policy. “What is happening now is that many councillors are saying if we don’t take the decision the Government, in the end, will come along and overrule us. Well that is very expensive in time and frankly it is not them facing up to their obligations.”

He understood, he said, that people who had moved into the countryside wanted to protect their nice views but he added: “At the end of the day you have got to strike a balance of what is in the national interest and, frankly, they are the ones who will suffer first because these are also areas in danger of massive floods caused by climate change.”