Big Wind Farms Unlikely In Rural Hants

Hampshire County Council says the benefits don't outweigh the negative impact large wind farms can have on the countryside.

A decision made at a meeting on Thursday afternoon means it is unlikely large wind farms will be built on council-owned land in the near future.

The Conservative council maintains the position that the benefits of wind power providing clean renewable energy did not outweigh the visual and amenity impact they have on the countryside.

Campaigners in favour of renewable energy argue the visual impact of wind turbines is reversible.

The report highlights that large wind turbines and wind farms are major developments (an average on-shore wind farm of eight, 100metre high turbines can cover an area equivalent to 220 football pitches), and their introduction within rural Hampshire would have a significant impact in the countryside, and on the County's historic character.

Councillor Thornber said: "We are completely signed up to the benefits of secure, affordable and low carbon energy and are already exploring a number of options within the Energy Strategy agreed by Cabinet at the end of last year, that would ensure Hampshire has future access to sustainable and secure energy sources. Plans are moving forward to create a District Energy Network (DEN) in Winchester to reduce carbon emissions, save money, and help reduce the energy consumption of major organisations, such as the hospital, the University, Winchester  Prison, and the County and City Councils. On-shore wind power is not the only source of low carbon energy.

"The County Council is a significant landowner in Hampshire and we have a duty to ensure our land is used responsibly in the wider public interest. It is important that we carefully consider the benefits and impact of large scale wind turbines on our land, whether they might come at the expense of Hampshire’s character and environment, and if they justify the loss of some of Hampshire’s most prized undeveloped countryside."

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