Fenland tenant of Cambs farms estate joins fight to save wind farms

A TENANT farmer has joined the fight to save plans for wind farms on Cambridgeshire County Council’s farms.

George Munns, who runs a 21-acre smallholding at Westmoor Farm in Chatteris, hoped to build a medium sized wind generator on his land.

However, county councillors scrapped a �700,000-a-year pay day by dropping proposals for wind turbines on any of the council’s 35 farms.

Liberal Democrat councillors have ‘called in’ the decision to the county council’s Cabinet meeting on Monday - and Mr Munns will join them at the meeting.

In a letter to Cabinet Mr Munns, whose parents started the 52-year-old business following a �100 win on the football pools, said his plan for the wind generator was well supported by the county council’s Farms Estate team.

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He said: “Often in the past this farm has led the way with new ideas; the team were keen to see this farm at the forefront and set an example to the rest of the estate.

“In light of this absolute support I commissioned an extensive feasibility study for a medium size wind generator.

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“I was astounded and dismayed to learn that the councillors had decided that a blanket ban on wind generation was to apply with immediate effect on the whole of the county Farms Estate. Worse still the ban extended to schemes which were already initiated such as ours.

“I implore you please to reconsider this blanket ban on wind generation and allow your smallholders to access a level playing field alongside farmers from the private sector.”

Wind turbines were planned for four sites – Chatteris, Farcet, Littleport and Coveney - on Farms Estate land owned by the council.

However, at a Cabinet meeting earlier this month, plans were scrapped. Councillor Steve Count, of March, Cabinet member for resources and performance, said at the time: “We are putting people before profit.

“Anybody who lives or drives through Fenland knows just how much the local landscape has changed with regiments of wind farms cropping up across the area.

“Although this means we may lose out in some income we could not carry on with this after hearing the real concerns of local people. Instead we will be looking at the use solar photovoltaics on eight barns by the end of the year.”

Councillor Kevin Wilkins, Shadow Cabinet member for planning, enterprise and envrionment, said: “It is blatantly obvious that the Tories don’t take climate change seriously and therefore refuse to commit to tackling it. But perhaps what is even more disturbing is that they are preventing other people from taking action to protect our environment.

“George should be congratulated for his commitment to conservation and his farm is testament to that. He has invested hard earned money in a project which would bring great benefits not only to his farm but the county generally and yet he has been stopped in his tracks.

“The decision to put a hold on wind farms on county council land is ill thought out and makes absolutely no sense. I hope the Tories will rethink their decision and allow George and other tenanted farmers the opportunity to invest in this alternative energy source.”

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