Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Farmer Joins Fight Against Tory Ban On Wind Farms

A tenant farmer, whose parents started their 52-year-old business following a £100 win on the football pools, has joined the fight to save plans for wind farms on county council land.

George Munns, who runs a 21 acre smallholding at Westmoor Farm in Chatteris, had planned to build a medium sized wind generator on his land.

But his plans fell apart when county Tories put a hold on allowing wind farms on council land and threw away almost £1 million a year in extra revenue.

Liberal Democrats have called in the decision to the county council Cabinet on Monday (September 26) and George will attend the meeting and join the protestors.

Wind turbines were planned for four sites – Chatteris, Farcet, Littleport and Coveney - on Farms Estate land owned by the council.

Conservation has always been a key consideration for George and he has won top awards under the Countryside Stewardship scheme. He believes his wind turbine would complement that.

In a letter to Cabinet George said that his plan for the wind generator was well-supported by the Farms Estate team.

“Often in the past this farm has led the way with new ideas; the team were keen to see this farm at the forefront and set an example to the rest of the estate,” he said. “In light of this absolute support I commissioned an extensive feasibility study for a medium size wind generator.

“I was astounded and dismayed to learn that the councillors had decided that a blanket ban on wind generation was to apply with immediate effect on the whole of the county Farms Estate. Worse still the ban extended to schemes which were already initiated such as ours.

“I implore you please to reconsider this blanket ban on wind generation and allow your smallholders to access a level playing field alongside farmers from the private sector.”

Cambridgeshire County Council Shadow Cabinet member for Planning, Enterprise and Environment, Kevin Wilkins said: “It is blatantly obvious that the Tories don’t take climate change seriously and therefore refuse to commit to tackling it. But perhaps what is even more disturbing is that they are preventing other people from taking action to protect our environment.

“George should be congratulated for his commitment to conservation and his farm is testament to that. He has invested hard earned money in a project which would bring great benefits not only to his farm but the county generally and yet he has been stopped in his tracks.

“The decision to put a hold on wind farms on county council land is ill thought out and makes absolutely no sense. I hope the Tories will rethink their decision and allow George and other tenanted farmers the opportunity to invest in this alternative energy source.”