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Green energy incentives are branded 'bribes for blights'

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: January 03, 2013

Hinkley Point

Hinkley Point

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Towns and villages across the Westcountry could see a massive windfall from power plants built on their doorstep under new Government plans branded "bribes for blight" by critics.

Rural communities hit by proposed new wind farms, solar plants and fracking sites could receive millions of pounds in compensation from energy companies.

Residents living near the proposed site of the first nuclear reactor in the UK for 20 years on the Somerset coast could receive up to half a billion pounds in compensation.

The payments could be used to cut local people's energy bills, provide bursaries to pay their children's university fees, build village halls and carry out home improvements.

The extra cost of the "community benefits" scheme would be passed on to customers through higher energy bills.

The aim is to open up the countryside to developments including the 6,000 additional onshore wind turbines planned by the government.

Ministers hope the financial offer will stifle planning objections from local people upset at losing their pristine landscapes or worried about the danger from nuclear waste – while critics say it amounts to bribery.

Bob Barfoot, North Devon chairman of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) said nothing could "quell" dissent" among people living next to large turbines.

He said handing over large sums to "sterilise" opposition would not be a consideration for local planning committees, unless the Government planned to change the law.

"Developers already do this but the amount has been increased to entice people into lowering their resistance," he added

"No amount of money is going to help you if you have got a huge turbine dominating your property.

"If a parish council is offered £70,000 by a developer, those living furthest away from the site may be supportive and those nearby would oppose it no matter how much was on offer – it will cause a rift."

Under the proposals, wind farm developers would pay a minimum of £5,000 a year into a "community trust" for each megawatt (MW) of generating capacity they install.

This figure dwarfs the £1,000 minimum industry standard payment which is typically paid, often with restrictions on how it can be used.

A typical onshore wind turbine has a capacity of 4MW, so the new figure would amount to £20,000 a year for each one.

A wind farm such as the 22-turbine, 66MW Fullabrook in North Devon, could net £330,000 a year, more than £8 million over a 25-year lifespan.

Ed Davey, the energy secretary, said: "Two-thirds of people support the growth of onshore wind, but far too often host communities have seen the wind farms but not the windfall.

"We want to ensure that people benefit from having wind farms sited near to them."

Nuclear power stations, such as EDF's proposed reactors at Hinkley Point, could also generate millions of pounds for those living nearby.

The formula under discussion by ministers would see EDF paying for the disruption caused during the eight to ten years of construction.

Once the reactor was fired up, the firm would pay a rate based on the power produced.

Overall, it would mean EDF paying £8 million a year into community trusts, overseen by West Somerset and Sedgemoor district councils, for the construction and operating phases, a total of 70 years.

Bob Brown, corporate director at Sedgemoor council, said: "During construction there will be 1,400 lorry movements through Bridgwater each day. There will also be a workforce of 5,600 living here so our residents deserve compensation for the disruption."

The trusts would get a further £18,000-a-year for each tonne of the highly radioactive spent fuel waste that would have to be stored on the Hinkley site.

Caroline Flint, shadow secretary for energy and climate change, said the community benefits scheme was a form of "bribery" that would reinforce the domination of Britain's energy markets by six large companies.

"In Germany, 65% of wind farms, solar farms and other renewable energy generation is owned by local communities who get to keep all the benefits, not just a small percentage," she said.

"That would be a much sounder system for local people and for Britain."

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  • letigre  |  January 08 2013, 8:29PM

    I have long stopped supporting FOE, Greenpeace, WWF and RSPB they all make claims about having concerns for the environment, which are then washed aside when it comes to energy/renewables. It doesn't take much time on the internet to read some absolute disaster stories about them. Our raptors left as soon as the nearby turbine went up. Well said all, when are we gonna wake up and realise what is happening!?

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  • dee_2  |  January 03 2013, 11:39PM

    After thirty years membership, I'm on the point of leaving Friends of the Earth because of its mindless commitment to what it calls 'Clean British Energy'. It is no such thing: it is expensive and unreliable and always needs 'back-up' of one sort or another. Plus it is pushing more and more families into fuel poverty because of the surcharges on all of our fuel bills. Our manufacturing industries can no longer afford the cost of Clean British Energy. So what happens? Virtually all of our manufacturing is now carried out in the far east - China is building coal fired power stations as fast as it can then shipping the product six thousand miles to the UK. And this is how so-called 'greens' think we're going to save the planet. Energy secretary, Ed Davey, says: "Two-thirds of people support the growth of onshore wind." What a joke - or it would be if the long term consequences were not so serious. The longer they remain in office the more the ConDems condemn our country and countryside.

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  • Wiegand  |  January 03 2013, 7:05PM

    There is a worldwide crises developing because of the wind industry. Over the last several years enough evidence has surfaced against the wind industry to shut down every one of their projects. At the very least a moratorium should in place until honest wind turbine research is conducted. The truth is that bogus research has been produced by the wind industry for over 28 years to hide their carnage. In America both Congress and industry know full well these turbines are not going to save us or even begin to solve our energy needs. They just want to sell turbines. They also know these wind turbines will also have no impact on CO2 emissions across the world. But all of this sounds good to the gullible fools that believe filtered stories put in the media. I remember one of the first big wind industry lies told to America.The one about how these turbines were going to help us get away from Middle East oil. The media, preying on our Nationalistic pride used this deflective argument to offset all the eagle and raptor deaths at Altamont Pass. Of course in America today we use much more Middle East oil now than in 1980 and sensible mileage standards for cars, which would have helped, were put off for over 35 years. The wind turbine still has nothing to do with the oil imported from the Middle East. But in the meantime, while the world is being lied to about this so called "Green Energy" these turbines are slaughtering off bird populations across the world. Even the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a federal agency entrusted by the people to protect wildlife, has been helping the wind industry to hide their bird and bat slaughter. They have been doing it for over 25 years. If anyone does believe any of this then look at how the USFWS is dealing with the rapidly declining and highly endangered whooping crane population. After decades of increasing a rate of about 4% per year, the Aransas-Wood Buffalo population has been declining. This population decline correlates with the explosion of wind turbines put along their 2500 mile migration route in recent years. Last year only 192 were actually counted. In an effort to conceal this decline, last year the USFWS changed their survey methodology so theirtrue numbers could be concealed. Today the free flying whooping Crane population is in a very serious state of decline and over 200 of them have vanished in recent years. There have also been no reports about the wind industry's golden eagle slaughter that has taken place in Texas. even though Texas was known to at one time to have more golden eagles than California. Topping off this massive industry and government cover-up are the USFWS "Voluntary Guidelines" bestowed upon the Wind industry. With these worthless regulations our own Government has given this industry the right to lie, cheat and steal. What I just wrote about is typical of the industry's deception that has been going on for decades. I can tell readers that virtually every wind industry document I have ever read has been written with deception or has had research methodology designed to hide the truth. I could provide dozens and dozens of similar examples from all over the country or the world. In a Democracy this outrage would be met with Congressional hearings. But we no longer have a Democracy in America and there will be no congressional hearings. We now have new political system which is basically the flip side of socialism. Instead of the means of production and distribution being controlled by the people, it is all controlled by industry.

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  • Jezza999  |  January 03 2013, 6:59PM

    @ Cottage Farm Organics @ http://tinyurl.com/al3au36 Given your rather OTT enthusiasm for 'renewables' - so effective that they need massive on-going tax payer subsidies *and* higher bills for users - I can only assume that you are one of the beneficiaries of these foolish schemes.

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  • johndavies  |  January 03 2013, 6:47PM

    ( "A wind farm such as the 22-turbine, 66MW Fullabrook in North Devon, could net £330,000 a year, more than £8 million over a 25-year lifespan." ) Looking at the OFFGM figs in the first 9 mths of 2012. see - http://tinyurl.com/abgumk6 - monthly totals at bottom Fullabrook windfarm received £ 3,196,185 just in ROC subsidy's alone , that's on top of the generation payments. £ 3,196,185 lifted from our energy bills It's our money, out of our bills, then they are giving us a little of our own money as 'cashback'. £330,000 a year!!! They make more than that just out of subsidy's each month. Community Benefit …..I don't think so, it's a classic Ponzi SCAM. (google it) They are not pumping money into the area…. they are pumping money OUT !!!

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  • Cottage Farm Organics  |  January 03 2013, 5:27PM

    What a brilliant scheme, thank you Ed Davey. With this scheme we get the all the necessary renewable (=inexhaustible) energy to replace the dirty polluting and increasingly expensive fossil fuel energy, which, by definition, is bound to run out, since it is non-renewable, leaving us with no energy to run our lives. At the same time those of us who are in some way affected get to enjoy the benefits either through reductions in Council tax, lower energy prices. perhaps through all those long wished for improvements to our Parish amenities or as householder grants. Of course, should you and your neighbours rather own a renewable energy project and obtain all the benefits, there is nothing to stop you setting up a community owned enterprise to own, install and operate such equipment and distribute all those profits amongst yourselves or where ever you wish! Banks are falling over themselves to provide the funds, so stop sitting on your backside and complain about others success and do something for once, Pawb46 and Dantwo.

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  • PAWB46  |  January 03 2013, 3:29PM

    Ed Davey, the energy secretary, said: "Two-thirds of people support the growth of onshore wind, but far too often host communities have seen the wind farms but not the windfall. We want to ensure that people benefit from having wind farms sited near to them." Yes and 2/3 of people live in cities where they aren't affected by them - except through their electricity bills. But Government propaganda blames all price rises on rising gas costs and so they don't realise that the renewable energy subsidy scam is going on. How much does the Prime Minister's father-in-law make from the scam? Is it £1,000 a day? How much does the Deputy Prime Minister's wife make from the scam? Is it £1,000 a day. How much do politicians like Tim Yeo and Lord Deben make from the scam?

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  • Dantwo  |  January 03 2013, 11:26AM

    Given their performance last year in terms of the environment and their new National Planning Policy Framework ("Anything: Anywhere") you would have thought this sick coalition government, the ConDems, could not dream up any more environmentally damaging policies. But it seems they've done it with this chestnut. What have they got against the British countryside and the people who will have to pay to watch it being destroyed?

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