United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Big player may pull out of wind

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National Power, owner of National Wind Power (NWP), one of Britain's largest wind farm developers, says it may have to pull out of wind energy in the UK. The company's Peter Musgrove confirms a report to that effect in national newspaper the Independent. The report states that Keith Henry, National Power's chief executive, has complained to Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott about repeated refusals by local authorities and planning inspectors of wind farm permits. The report blames the refusals on Sir Bernard Ingham, Margaret Thatcher's former press secretary. Ingham is head of anti-wind farm group Country Guardian. Henry's complaint comes in the wake of NWP's latest setback when Prescott rubber stamped a planning inspector's recommendation to refuse a wind farm proposed by the developer at High Moor in Durham. NWP says the refusal was unjustified and is taking the case to the High Court. In representations to ministers, NWP says the project was supported by local people and by the county council. Aside from a handful of small projects, not one wind farm has received planning permission in England or Wales over the past three years. According to Musgrove the tide of opinion against wind power turned in 1993, the year Ingham launched his campaign. "One way or another the final High Moor decision will send a very clear signal both to developers and planners," Musgrove tells the DTI. "If the judgements that underpin the recent High Moor refusal remain unchanged, the outlook for wind energy in the UK is very bleak."

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