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Isle of Wight council to block wind turbines

Despite denouncing the closure of Vestas' Isle of Wight blade facility, it has emerged that the conservative-led council has a history of blocking wind farm projects on the island.

A report in the UK's Guardian newspaper reports that Councillors on the Isle of Wight have moved to block wind turbine projects on the island, despite criticising Vestas and its decision to shut its UK Blade factory because of a lack of projects in the UK.

The Guardian reports that Andrew Turner, the Conservative MP for the Isle of Wight, has a history of campaigning against wind farms on the island, despite speaking out against the imminent closure of the island's Vestas turbine factory with the loss of more than 600 jobs.

The newspaper goes on to report that Turner also appears to oppose a new project, proposed by Vestas, to erect three turbines on the island to support Vestas' research and development centre on the island.

The Guardian writes, "the MP wrote to a constituent about the Cheverton Down wind farm, which would be located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in the west of the island, saying: 'There are only 35 areas in England which are so outstanding that they have been given special legal protection as AONBs. I believe they should be permanently safeguarded for future generations.'"

There are no commercial-sized wind turbines operating in the Isle of Wight, despite the council's strategy to turn itself into an "eco-island".

And Ed Miliband, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, spoke of the same issue at a Friends of the Earth gathering in Oxford last week: "One of the things that infuriated Vestas the most was that they had a plan to put up 3 turbines on the Isle of Wight; it was opposed by the local council, it was opposed by the local MP. Those same people are now saying how terrible it is that the plant is closing.”

This is one timely example of why the windpower industry has struggled in the UK in recent times, forcing manufacturers to more favourable markets. "We’re not going to have the world’s largest wind turbine industry if the majority of wind turbine projects get turned down for planning permission", said Miliband. 

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