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Wind Turbines

Volume 571: debated on Monday 25 November 2013

6. What planning guidelines he has issued on the minimum distance required between wind turbines and housing. (901203)

We are not encouraging local councils to set fixed separation distances between turbines and housing. Distances play a part, but so does the local context, including factors such as topography.

I thank the Minister for that answer. On Friday, Prince Charles visited the heritage village of Kirkleatham in my constituency, which, along with the lovely conservation villages of Wilton and Yearby, forms a triangle with sides between 700 metres and 1,400 metres. Does the Minister think it right that a London-based company wants to put two wind turbines bigger than the London Eye in the middle of this triangle? Will he give local communities power over such decisions, and will he issue guidelines similar to those in Scotland?

I cannot comment on individual applications, but the national planning policy is clear that any application should be approved only if the impact is, or can be, made acceptable.

Do the Government intend to give local communities any new powers to block such developments if they consider them unwelcome?

Regulations laid before the House this morning demand that developers have conversations with communities before applications are made. That is important, but having a strong local plan is also helpful.

There is best practice throughout Europe in this regard. The Danes, for instance, have an exclusion zone for dwellings that measures 10 times the radius of the blades. Surely there is some way of introducing localism-related legislation to deal with the position here.

As I said a moment ago to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Selly Oak (Steve McCabe), it is important to have a local plan. Determining where renewable energy supply facilities are to be established will give some protection to communities.