Energy Bill

Written evidence submitted by Christopher Walsh (EB 12)

Energy Bill 2015-2016

I am submitting this evidence as a private individual who has no financial connection with the onshore wind industry. My local area is being heavily targeted by onshore wind developers.

1. As a resident of Scotland, Clause 79 (1E), Bill 92 2015-2016, will not affect me however I would like to point out that there are many communities across Scotland that are being developed with wind farm after wind farm against their will. Developers deliberately size the wind farms just over the size threshold to have them determined nationally under a Section 36 application rather than at local level. Without fail developers also appeal any local level determination that is not found in their favour. I personally live in an area that has three proposed wind farms within 1km of each other. All are being determined at national level due to the reasons highlighted above. Local people, the surrounding community councils and the local authority have objected to the wind farms yet feel powerless in the face of the overwhelming odds stacked against them at the national level. The financial costs to the local communities that choose to defend against wind farms are also rarely advertised and divert money away from spending on other areas.

2. I therefore welcome the proposed protection afforded to local communities within England and Wales proposed by Clause 79 (1E), Bill 92 2015-2016 and hope that the Scottish Government extends the same to the people of Scotland by empowering and trusting people at the local level.

3. Clause 60 (6), HL Bill 56 2015-16, should be reintroduced. It was clearly stated within the Conservative party manifesto that they would end any new public subsidy. Read within the context of the manifesto intention to halt the spread of onshore wind there can be no doubt as to the meaning of this statement. Any new public subsidy means no public subsidies for new onshore wind farms irrespective of whether the subsidy scheme is new or old. I personally voted on the basis of this manifesto pledge and to see attempts to undermine it by playing semantics has eroded my trust in politics.

January 2016

 

Prepared 26th January 2016