Prescott slams 'nimby' councils over wind turbines
Published by Hannah Wooderson for 24dash.com in Local Government and also in Environment
Prescott slams 'nimby' councils over wind turbines
Former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott today launched a savage attack on wind turbines 'nimbys' - people who say "not in my backyard."
He criticised people who opposed wind turbines being set up near their homes and planning committees who uphold their objections.
Mr Prescott announced the inaugural Age Of Stupid awards - named after a hard-hitting environmental film which criticises those who fail to act on climate change - were 'won' by planners in Bedford and the Isle of Wight.
Launching a new environmental campaign ahead of this year's Copenhagen conference on climate change, he said planners in Bedford had repeatedly rejected an application by wind farm developer Piers Guy, although he had cut the number of turbines from 15 to nine to three.
Mr Prescott said the latest decision was a "disgrace" and added: "The first Age of Stupid award goes to Bedford, which follows the Isle of Wight - even when there were many people employed, they'd refused to have it.
"Stupid planning committee in Bedford, stupid planning committee in the Isle of Wight - I hope they get upset about it.
"We have to counteract the nimbys who say they want change, but not in their backyard."
Mr Prescott said opposition forces were gathering against an international climate change agreement being reached in Copenhagen.
"If you switch on the TV, there is a massive campaign in the American oil companies against any agreement whatsoever.
"At Kyoto we managed to get an agreement. I am pleased to say that Britain is one of the four countries only out of the EU 15 that has achieved its Kyoto targets."
He added: "Two thirds of applications for wind turbines are
being turned down by councils.
"The opposition forces are beginning to develop."
Mr Prescott, the Council of Europe "rapporteur" on climate change, and a Kyoto protocol negotiator, was taking part in East London in a new climate change campaign called New Earth Deal.
It is designed to put pressure on negotiators when they meet in Copenhagen, and it will include a Road to Copenhagen Climate Change Conference to be held at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France in September.
Mr Prescott said it was very important that a low carbon economy was developed around the world and said some form of carbon rationing would be necessary at some point.
He warned: "Securing a deal at Copenhagen will be 10 times more difficult than Kyoto.
"Social justice and the reduction of poverty must be at the very heart of any agreement. It also means equalising greenhouse emissions per head in each country.
"The climate change we are experiencing across the world has been caused by the richer developed countries. They must now recognise the central principle that the polluter pays.
"Failure is not an option in Copenhagen and that's why our Europe-wide campaign will be galvanised in public opinion to lobby governments to make that deal.”
The Conservative leader of Isle of Wight Council said he was returning the Age of Stupid award to Mr Prescott "in recognition of the carbon footprint contribution from his two Jaguars".
David Pugh said: "This is the type of ill-informed comment we have come to expect from John Prescott.
"Whilst the Isle of Wight is addressing the issue of green jobs with a cross-party, constructive approach to the government, the ex-deputy PM sees fit to wade in with his ignorant remarks - without any real understanding of the issues he is commenting on.
"For example, he probably has no idea that only one turbine application has been turned down on the island, and that was done in accordance with the national planning policies which were set by the very government department he headed.
"That planning refusal had no connection with the blade factory whatsoever. Furthermore, there is already one planning permission for turbines which has been approved, and another three awaiting determination.
"I am aware that Mr Prescott arrived on the island recently to have a few drinks during Cowes Week. It is a pity he did not venture beyond Cowes and actually discover the outstanding natural beauty of the island, much of which is protected by national designations against inappropriate planning proposals.
"As Mr Prescott is unwilling to visit the Isle of Wight properly, I am pleased to return the Age of Stupid award to him, in recognition of the carbon footprint contribution from his two Jaguars."
Mr Prescott won support from environmental campaigners Friends of the Earth.
Executive director Andy Atkins said: "Local councils have a crucial role to play in ensuring that Britain meets its targets for tackling climate change and reaping the economic and employment benefits of renewable energy developments.
"But if planning committees continue to reject wind turbines, the UK will struggle to meet its targets for slashing emissions and generating green energy.
"New Government planning guidance is desperately needed to ensure the creation of a low-carbon economy.
"This should include obligatory renewable energy targets for local authorities - and a requirement for them to allocate potential local sites where appropriate green energy developments could be built to enable these targets to be met.
"A major emphasis on community-led renewable energy developments is also required so that local people can share in the huge financial benefits of developing green power."