A letter from our local MP Peter Luff

By stoplenchwickwindfarm | November 11, 2008

Peter Luff your local MP has given us full permission to include this letter, in fact he has positively encouraged us to do so.  Here is his letter in full:

 

Thank you for your email concerning the proposal from Scottish Power for major wind turbine development in the Lenchwick/Lenches area.

First, I must clarify that I received no advance notification from the company of their intention to proceed with this development – indeed, the first I heard of it was when I received a phone call from the Evesham Journal alerting me to the idea. I have only recently received in my office the hard copy of their consultation document although I did receive an email a few days earlier – but after reports had appeared in local papers.

I think the proposed consultation timetable is ridiculously tight and owes more to seeking to forestall the growth of local opposition than a serious attempt to involve local people.  Of course, this is only the company’s consultation – if the idea proceeds to a formal planning application, there will then be a statutory phase during which it will be possible for the local community to make its views very strongly felt. 

My position on renewable energy is simple – we do need more renewable energy sources but they must be located in areas where communities welcome them;  they should not have a detrimental effect on the environment or other aspects of the area.  I will therefore be guided entirely by the views of the local community in my approach to this application.  It is my intention to visit the site shortly and work out exactly where the company intends to put these turbines to inform my own thinking but it is the reaction of local residents that will be the most important issue.

It is really important that the local community speaks in a coordinated way and therefore that the parish councils of the area affected act as the main focus for local discussion and opinion forming.  As I understand it, there are three such parish councils – Church Lench, Harvington and Norton and Lenchwick.  I have contacted the clerks to all three parish councils so they are aware of my interest and concern.

On one point of clarification, there was a misleading and unhelpful comment in the Evesham Journal regarding feed in tariffs.  Feed-in tariffs apply to small-scale, largely domestic schemes where an individual house or group of houses generates a small surplus of electricity from its own activities which it can sell back into the grid.  This wind farm development is a major commercial development that would be built using the cross subsidy available under the so-called renewable obligation certificates (ROCs).  The renewable obligation certificate scheme has been in place for many years now whereas the feed-in tariff has not even been introduced.  I support strongly the principle of a feed-in tariff having looked at the arguments as this will enable individual householders and small groups of householders to invest in their own local renewable energy sources.  Such schemes will be entirely acceptable to those local communities because they are being developed by them for their own benefit.  This development is a massive commercial development being imposed on the community from outside and it is important that this distinction is clearly understood. 

It is also important to recognise that government policy supports the creation of onshore wind farms under the renewable obligation certificate scheme and this is unlikely to change.  However, there is a planning process to be gone through and if the local community is opposed to this development, I am sure that opposition will carry a lot of weight with Wychavon District Council who will consider the application.              

Peter Luff, MP for Mid Worcestershire

Chairman, Business and Enterprise Committee

House of Commons

London

SW1A OAA

01905 763952

www.peterluff.org.uk

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2 Responses to “A letter from our local MP Peter Luff”

  1. Martin Barrett Says:
    November 12th, 2008 at 10:40 am

    An excellent response. Let us hope that the parish councils take positive steps to find out what their parishioners views’ are on the proposals.

  2. Steve Davies Says:
    November 20th, 2008 at 7:31 pm

    This letter, which I agree is a very thoughtful response, highlights the need for the three parish councils to work together on this. I was dismayed to read in the local press of the apparent support for this project from the Chair of Harvington Parish Council. This ‘support’ came within a very short time of the announcement of the plans, and surely far too short a time for him to have gathered the views of the residents of Harvington.

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