The controversy over wind farm development in Ryedale took another turn last week when the Environment Secretary made a fact-finding visit to the Yorkshire Wolds.
He went to East Heslerton and met members of the Heslerton Wind Farm Action Group who are opposing plans by energy giant, RWE nPower, which wants to develop a wind farm near the village.
Mr Paterson told the group’s representatives of recent changes in the National Planning Policy Framework in respect of “inappropriate” onshore wind farm developments which are objected to by a majority of local people.
He said: “The need for renewable energy does not override its impact on landscape, topography, environment or heritage assets.
The Government is clear in its view that recent changes to the Framework in respect of planning applications for onshore wind farms, empower local communities to prevent inappropriate schemes.”
Meanwhile, Anne McIntosh, MP for Thirsk and Malton and Chairman of the Defra select committee for rural affairs, food and the environment, renewed her campaign against windfarms in her constituency which includes Ryedale.
“I want to put the minds of constituents at rest – the planning guidance published on July 29 by the Department for Communities and Local Government, must be followed to the letter.
“I stood at the last election on a pledge to oppose wind farms, not least because of the overhead power lines which are a blight on the countryside.”
Added Ms McIntosh: “I will resist wind farm development in this constituency as being unreliable, dependent on hidden Government subsidies and grossly inefficient in delivering a renewable mix of energy.
“In East Heslerton there is a proposed scheme for 10 turbines which will then be decommissioned in 25 years. Constituents have approached me as they feel this will cause destruction and disturbance to our rural way of life.”
RWE nPower is now taking its planning application to a public inquiry after Ryedale District Council turned down the scheme earlier this year. The company has said its scheme will provide electricity for several thousands of homes if its scheme gets the go-ahead.