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National Trust: Wind Farms Are Biggest Threat To Britain’s Countryside

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Nick McDermott, Daily Mail

The ‘blight’ of giant windfarms spreading across Britain is the ‘most widespread and persistent threat’ to our countryside, the National Trust has warned.

Chairman Sir Simon Jenkins yesterday singled out the proliferation of wind turbines as he highlighted concerns about the Government’s planning reforms, which he said would cause ‘warfare’ in local communities if not delayed. 

His comment come just weeks after its new director-general, Dame Helen Ghosh, described wind turbines as ‘beautiful’, but agreed that land near historic buildings or sensitive landscapes was not the right place for the giant windmills.

Blight on the landscape: The National Trust claims Wind Farms, such as this one in Ingbirchworth, West Yorkshire, are today the most 'widespread and persistent threat' to the British countryside

Blight on the landscape: The National Trust claims Wind Farms, such as this one in Ingbirchworth, West Yorkshire, are today the most ‘widespread and persistent threat’ to the British countryside

Speaking yesterday Sir Simon spoke of how the trust was fighting wind farm applications on an increasingly frequent basis.

He said: ‘There’s clearly a major battle taking place almost everywhere on wind farms. Wind turbines are very intrusive forms of renewable energy.

‘National Trust policy is perfectly clear. We’re not against renewable energy or wind turbines in the right place, we do oppose wind turbines that blight the landscape.

‘We’re sceptical over wind in the wrong place. At the moment there are threats of wind turbines the breadth of the country,’ he said.

‘In almost every region of Britain there are proposals on wind farms which local people are fighting brilliantly. The National Trust has to be conversant with this battle.’

National Trust Chairman Sir Simon Jenkins raised the issue as he highlighted concerns over the Government’s planning reforms

Asked if the National Trust would consider buying areas of outstanding beauty to prevent them from the giant windmills, Sir Simon said it would not be possible due to the scale of applications.

‘We are always in the market for property. But to be honest, the threat is so widespread, you can’t even think about it. If you started buying land in Dumfries and Galloway to protect it, you would buy the whole of Dumfries and Galloway,’ he said.

But the National Trust would consider buying easements – a right over the land – to prevent the building of wind farms in sensitive landscapes.

The charity is calling for a delay in the introduction of the rules set to come into force later this month, in order to prevent local communities becoming entrenched in costly battles with building and wind farm developers.

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