Taxpayers could fund up to ten new wind farms
APPROVAL has been given for the use of public funds to build wind turbines at ten possible council-owned farms.
Cornwall Council's Cabinet unanimously agreed to use £16 million for renewable and wind power opportunities, despite accusations it would waste taxpayers' money.
The sites include land at Barwick Cuby and Trevorva, both near Probus; Trevascus Gorran, near St Austell; and Bodilly, Wendron, and South Trenoweth, at Breage, both near Helston; Broadlands, near Bude; North Hellescott, Launceston; Bodwen Helland, Bodmin; Trevease, Constantine near Falmouth; and Menerdue, Stithians near Redruth.
Last week Councillor Julian German, Cabinet member for localism, sustainability and devolution, put the recommendations forward, saying he did not want to spend taxpayers' money without the support of the Cabinet.
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He said: "We are putting forward a scheme and an indicative list (land) to show the council how the investment could look.
"Some of the sites may fall out before we launch a planning application and we will be consulting very widely.
"It will help our budget, generate revenue in the future and cut our carbon emissions. We need to take leadership on this and I am willing to step up and take that leadership."
A petition has been launched against the controversial scheme.
Critics say wind turbines scar the landscape and affect tourism.
But Councillor Graeme Hicks described it as a huge opportunity and urged members to support it.
He also said the planning system was there to protect people, adding: "I get fed up with Nimbys and the anti-turbine lobby. This country will not have enough energy. Let's not whinge about it and let's just get on with it."
Over the past year Cornwall Council has installed 1.6MW of rooftop solar panels on council buildings and is starting work on the 5MW Kernow Solar Farm, the UK's first council-owned solar farm.
These are expected to produce a combined income of £1.2 million a year and the Renewable Energy Programme could increase this to over £5 million per year.