An hour long debate in the House of Lords February 13 heard seven peers speak in favour of wind energy and seven against. Viscount Tenby started the debate by asking the government to what extent it had taken into account the impact of wind farms on the rural environment. Perhaps the most surprising contribution came from Lord Marlesford who is Chairman of the Council for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE). "In my opinion the real future for non-fossil fuel resources is nuclear power," he said. Provided the problems of the safe reactor, waste disposal and decommissioning could be solved, nuclear power offered infinitely more opportunity for providing, in an environmentally acceptable way, the energy we need without intrusion upon our beautiful countryside, he added. Several peers on both sides of the debate called for a tightening of planning guidance on wind energy developments, Planning Policy Guidance 22 (PPG 22). Answering all the points made by his fellow peers, government spokesman Lord Ferrers defended PPG 22. "But like all planning policy guidance, the relevance of its advice is kept under continuous review." Reaffirmed the government's view that it was up to the planning system to balance a wind farm's environmental impact against policy on renewable energy and the country's Rio commitments, he added: "Our planning system is designed to protect the rural environment but at the same time to enable the development of properly sited, well designed and efficient wind turbines," he concluded.
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