– Aaron Faunch contributed to this report.
A conference in Lincoln on Tuesday, November 20th that will highlight the benefits of renewable energy has sparked a debate in the city.
Prior to the conference, the Lincoln Greenpeace co-ordinator has criticised resistance to wind energy from some Lincolnshire politicians.
Sally Horscroft condemned comments from Lincolnshire councillors and MPs in regional and national press, after they attacked the building of onshore wind farms across the country.
Lincolnshire MP and energy minister, John Hayes said in an interview with the Daily Mail that wind farms had been allowed to spread across the country without any consideration for local communities.
The South Holland and Deepings MP claimed that he had ordered a new analysis on the effect of wind farms on the rural environment and house prices, which was later denied by his boss Ed Davey, the energy secretary.
Lincolnshire County Council later came out in support for Hayes when they announced that 74 wind turbines in Lincolnshire, the second biggest county in the UK, amounted to an “invasion.”
Horscroft said: “I don’t think politicians are alert to how much of a difference we have to make so quickly. They seem to be waiting for someone else to make the move. I honestly don’t know why they are so anti-wind.”
She went on to say that wind is free and readily available in the UK, one of the windiest countries in Europe. Although, wind turbines aren’t carbon neutral, they are far less polluting than fossil fuel.
Despite polls consistently showing high support for wind farms, there remain a significant number of people opposed. Horscroft argues that an element of the criticism is a consequence of “not in my backyard.”
She believes that local communities may be more supportive if they benefited from living closer to wind farms, such as cheaper electricity or actually partly owning wind turbines so they can sell electricity to the national grid.
But critics also describe wind farms as imposing on the landscape. Horscroft says that “they have an operational life of 25 years, then they get dismantled and taken away and you can’t see where they have been.”
She continued: “I think a lot of people are against wind farms without actually being to one. Personally, I think they are beautiful, graceful and lovely. Everybody is entitled to their opinion, but it seems strange an energy minister would openly be critical.”
Hayes will be the key note speaker at the renewable energy conference on Tuesday, November 20th. Further details are available on the Lincolnshire Showground website.