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Wind Power: Somerset

Volume 498: debated on Wednesday 28 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the need for new pylons to service the wind turbines across the Somerset Levels proposed by EDF Energy. (295259)

I have been asked to reply.

I understand that the hon. Member's question relates to the proposed wind farm at Withy Farm, Puriton near Bridgwater. I have been asked to respond as renewable energy falls within my Department's responsibilities.

As you may be aware, I am unable to comment on any aspect of a wind farm proposal that is currently in the planning system as that is a matter for the relevant local planning authority. This would include any assessment of the need for new pylons.

A report by the Electricity Networks Strategy Group1 ‘Our Electricity Transmission Network: A Vision for 2020’ published in March 2009, set out the potential transmission investments needed to connect large volumes of onshore and offshore wind generation across the UK required to meet the 2020 renewables target, while, at the same time, facilitating the connection of other essential new low carbon generation.

A copy of the report is available at

1 The Electricity Networks Strategy Group (ENSG) is a senior industry group chaired by DECC and Ofgem

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effect the proposed construction of nine wind turbines on the Somerset Levels as proposed by EDF Energy would have on the environment; and if he will make a statement. (295261)

I have been asked to reply.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave today to his parliamentary question, number 295259, regarding wind farm proposals that are currently in the planning system.

The Government have made clear that wind farms should be located in appropriate places and that local concerns should be listened to. We recognise the need to ensure that all renewable energy developments take place within the formal planning procedure, which allows all relevant stakeholders, including members of the public, to put forward their views on the likely impact of any proposal on the environment and the local community.

Planning Policy Statement (PPS) 22 on renewable energy highlights the need to take account of environmental impacts in terms of landscape and visual effects, which will vary on a case by case basis according to the type of development, its location and landscape setting.