Hampshire wind farm ban decision to be made by council leader

Council leader Ken Thornber Ken Thornber will decide as executive member for policy and resources

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A decision on whether to ban large wind turbines and wind farms on Hampshire County Council land rests solely with the council's Conservative leader.

Ken Thornber will decide as executive member for policy and resources.

Local government expert Dr Philip Whiteman said it should have been discussed at full council in the "interests of democracy".

A council spokesman said the process was in line with the council's constitution.

But Dr Whiteman, from the Institute of Local Government Studies, said it was "disingenuous to the people of Hampshire".

'Proper debate'

A council report said that while the "benefits" of providing renewable clean energy were recognised, they would have an "adverse impact" on the landscape.

Deputy leader and executive member for environment and transport, Conservative Mel Kendal, said: "We recognise that at present the business case generally does not support on-shore large turbine developments, but with both wind turbine technology and potential changes in the financial regimes that apply, we will keep the position under close scrutiny.

"We are completely signed up to the benefits of low carbon energy, but believe that at present large scale wind turbines on our land do not provide a sufficient benefit to justify the loss of some of Hampshire's most prized undeveloped countryside."

Liberal Democrat councillor Adam Carew said the decision should be made after a full council debate.

He said: "I have no doubt that some people will agree with what the Conservatives are proposing and others won't.

"We are strongly in favour of renewable energy and we think we need to be looking at all types of renewable energy.

"We wouldn't wish to see wind farms on areas of outstanding natural beauty or sites of special scientific interest but an absolute ban is ludicrous.

"At the end of the day the government is supposed to be open and transparent and big decisions like this need a proper debate."

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