Wind turbine planning decisions 'erratic and piecemeal'

Wind turbines. Pic: Thinkstock
Image caption The council said it had to look at the landscape impact of wind turbines

Cornwall MP Andrew George has launched a scathing attack on the handling of wind turbine planning applications.

The St Ives Liberal Democrat criticised Cornwall Council's "apparent erratic and piecemeal" approach to applications and called for a countywide strategy.

He said "robust planning" was needed to protect the environment.

The authority said it looked at each application on its own merits, adding it was also drawing up a planning policy which would cover renewables.

'Gap in strategy'

In an email to protesters opposing turbines in Lamorna in west Cornwall, Mr George said: "In recent years I believe that Cornwall Council has failed to adopt sufficiently clear, strategic and robust planning policies to guide development and protect what is special in our environment.

"This is especially disappointing as I recollect that the old Cornwall County Council was the first local authority in the country to draw up a strategy - in the early 1990s - for handling wind farm developments.

"I hope that the new county council will now move quickly to fill this gap in planning strategy and avoid a situation where applications appear to be handled in a piecemeal and erratic manner."

'Impacts addressed'

Mr George told BBC Radio Cornwall more energy from renewable sources was needed and "we need to make sure the council has the guidance in place to guide those applicants to the right places and not the wrong ones".

The Lib Dem/Independent-led authority council said: "Government planning guidance said local authorities should have a positive strategy to promote energy from renewable and low carbon sources and that they should design their planning policies to maximise renewable and low carbon energy development while ensuring that adverse impacts are addressed satisfactorily.

"This approach is reflected in the council's emerging planning policy document - the Cornwall Local Plan - which similarly contains policies designed to promote renewable and low carbon energy while ensuring that adverse impacts are addressed satisfactorily."

It added it was "required to consider each planning application on its merits taking into account a range of planning considerations, such as the landscape and cumulative impacts".

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