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Sedgefield MP urges action over windfarm plans in 10 minute rule motion
6:00pm Wednesday 12th December 2012 in News
Local planning authorities should decide whether big wind farms are allowed to go ahead, Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson told the Commons today (Wednesday, December 12).
He said his constituency, was already at capacity for the number of wind farms the landscape could sustain.
Moving a 10 minute rule motion, Mr Wilson proposed the Planning Act 2008 (Amendment) Bill to exempt onshore wind farms producing 50MW or more from the 2008 act, which was designed to speed up approvals of key infrastructure.
He said national infrastructure should more properly be viewed as projects such as a nuclear station under consideration at nearby Hartlepool - which would generate more than 1,000MW.
He said individual wind farms simply generated too little power to be nationally significant.
The Sedgefield MP told the Commons: ''County Durham has played more than its part in renewable energy.
''In total, 193MW of renewable energy is either operational or approved - 132MW from wind.
''There is a further 109MW in planning, all of it from wind energy.
''This is one of the best records of any local authority in England.
''I want to see further renewable energy in the county but as far as wind farm development is concerned, I believe the county is near or actually full to capacity and the cumulative impact on the landscape will become if allowed to continue severe.''
Mr Wilson said his county was home to 17 operational wind farms, with six more agreed and 13 further ones in planning.
He said the number of turbines in his constituency showed his plan was not born out of nimbyism.
But the Labour MP added: ''The sheer size of turbines is starting to place a burden on the landscape I do not believe was envisaged by the legislators when the policy was devised to ensure local people through their planning authority were not able to say no to a wind farm proposal if the energy generated exceeded 50MW.
''The decision instead lies with the Secretary of State through the Planning Inspectorate.
''I believe onshore wind farms, especially where wind farms are many in number, should be exempt from the 50MW threshold and should be with the local planning authority.''
He added: ''I am personally not against wind farms and see the need for a strong energy mix and Durham County Council has done its bit and we are proud of it.''