A REPORT which asks if Northants is becoming the windfarm capital of England has been welcomed by campaigners in the Advertiser region.
Last week the Campaign to Protect Rural England said Northants was receiving far more than its fair share of pressure from wind farm developers, claiming the county may end up singlehandedly fulfilling the Government’s regional windfarm target for the entire east Midlands.
The CPRE’s statement lists 49 operational turbines or those with planning permission, and 53 which are either in the process of applying for planning permission or have been refused and gone to the planning inspectorate for appeal.
Currently there are pre-planning proposals for 16 turbines in an area south east of Towcester, and on Tuesday, May 14 an appeal by Broadview Energy, which wants to build five turbines at Spring Ridge Farm near Helmdon, will be held at a location yet to be agreed.
Keith Jones, chairman of the Helmdon, Stuchbury and Greatworth Wind Action Group welcomed the CPRE report and said their map of windfarm projects in the county neatly highlighted what they have been saying since proposals from Broadview Energy for five turbines at Spring Farm Ridge, just off the B4525.
Mr Jones said: “Basically what they are saying is that Northants is a soft touch as far as windfarms are concerned because it doesn’t have a lot of areas of outstanding natural beauty, therefore developers think our bit of the countryside is fair game.
“The fact it’s a very beautiful and pleasant place does not seem to register.”
Mr Jones backs the CPRE’s assertion the county is one of the nation’s least windy places and that proposals are emerging for the county due to the Government’s subsidies which make such plans highly profitable, despite the belief the energy produced is likely to be a quarter of their capacity.
Sir Paul Hayter of CPRE said despite the ‘much-vaunted’ Localism Act, national targets were beginning to take precedence over local decisions.