Lincolnshire County Council urged not to turn its back on wind turbines
Opposition councillors say Lincolnshire's biggest authority should "show leadership" in identifying future energy resources, rather than condemning wind turbines.
The Conservative-led county council has approved its wind energy position statement which recommends no new large-scale wind farms are built within 2km of homes.
The policy has been adopted after about 4,000 people completed a questionnaire. More than 60 per cent disagreed or strongly disagreed that wind farms should feature in Lincolnshire's future energy needs. And 87 per cent agreed or strongly agreed that planning authorities should note the statement when considering developments.
Planning decisions remain with district authorities. But as a consultee, the county council will use its statement to inform responses to wind farm proposals.
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Council leader Martin Hill reiterated his view that the public supports the authority's stance, despite claims of duplicate responses skewing the survey.
"The evidence of the polls has confirmed what we suspected, that over 80 per cent of the public supports the council's position," he said.
"We are not saying we are against wind farms.
"We are saying we think we have enough in this county that we want to protect its heritage and landscape."
Labour's John Hough, of Louth South ward, said: "It would be quite out of order for us to put out documents saying that we should have a presumption against wind turbine developments.
"We should show leadership at Lincolnshire County Council about energy for the future. It's about time we did."
Liberal Democrat John Marriott, who represents Hykeham Forum, said: "Those who live in urban areas say no problem but those in rural areas are the ones who will create the most opposition to wind turbines.
"Wind turbines are not the answer to our energy problems – we have to look at other alternative energies."
Conservative Eddy Poll, the executive member for economic development, said the council accepts that wind turbines have some part to play in addressing climate change.
But he added: "Wind turbines are a bit like starting your car in the morning then getting the bus to work.
"They are costly, dirty, unreliable, unsustainable and unwanted. If they really are the saviour that everybody says they are, let them operate without subsidy."
Lincoln Boultham ward member Kevin Clarke, said: "The county council is not the planning authority so why do we have this policy?
"Surely it's not for a vote winner in the May election?"
Cllr Hill previously told the Echo that the only way to completely ensure people could have their say on wind farms and avoid duplications would have been to stage a referendum, likely to cost £350,000.
Independent member for Branston and Navenby, Marianne Overton, fears a future legal challenge to the statement due to the "highly misleading" survey results.
She told the council: "The position statement is very careful to look at the size, scale and location of wind turbines.
"It is intended to look at planning issues but I worry that the consultation is sadly flawed."