Naseby Battlefield wind farm:

Official contempt for the public

The man from Whitehall: Sir Michael Pitt

On January 9th I wrote a piece about the proposed wind-farm overlooking the historic battlefield of Naseby, and I undertook to write to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, The Rt. Hon. Eric Pickles MP.  I also promised to share his reply with you.  I attach it below.  Clearly Mr. Pickles is a very busy man, so he referred my letter to Sir Michael Pitt, Chief Executive of The Planning Inspectorate.

Sir Michael writes with commendable courtesy.  His mastery of mandarin-speak is exemplary.  It is worthy of the BBC’s “Yes Minister”, so much so that I wonder if the BBC consulted him on the script.  That being so, and in the interests of clarity and the avoidance of doubt, let me offer you my paraphrase in more earthy and vernacular terms.

He is saying, in effect, that we local oiks, Luddites and Nimbies can do whatever we want, but it won’t make any difference and he won’t care a scrap.  He isn’t interested in normal planning criteria, but only in national policy on energy and wind farms (which is, of course, not really a national policy at all, but a Brussels/EU policy).  We can organise our little protest groups, set up our web-sites, raise funds with our wine-and-cheese parties and our Quiz Nights, hire our lawyers and consultants, engage our local papers and local authorities, make our presentations at local planning enquiries, win our cases and break open the champagne in celebration.

But it’s all for nothing, because the government’s Planning Inspectorate (acting as the local face of Brussels policy) will ignore all we’ve done, and reverse the decision on appeal, never mind that local people, local media, local authorities and even national organisations like English Heritage are opposed.  The Inspectorate doesn’t care about the heritage or the environment, or the health issues or the housing blight, and still less about the utter futility of wind farms in economic and environmental terms.  Oh No.  National/Brussels policy is everything.  We could all have saved the time, and the trouble, and the money, and the heartache, and sat at home in our slippers and let them get on with it, because that’s what they’re going to do anyway.

I particularly recognise this problem, because it is exactly what happened with Low Spinney, in Leicestershire, and I now have 400 foot turbines within a mile of my home.

Localism?  Forget it.  That’s for winning elections, not for informing policy.  Here’s Sir Michael’s letter:

Dear Mr. Helmer,

Land to the south of the A14 and north of Haselbach, Kelmarsh

I am writing further to your e-mail to the Rt. Hon Eric Pickles dated 8th January regarding the above planning appeal decision.  Your correspondence has been passed to me, as the Planning Inspectorate has responsibility for the planning appeal process.

You may be aware that this appeal was the subject of a question addressed by Baroness Hanham, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Department of Communities and Local Government, during the parliamentary debate held on Tuesday 17 January.  Baroness Hanham expressed the view that the decision has been independently reached by a Planning Inspector acting on behalf of the Secretary of State and is final unless successfully challenged in the High Court.

I note your concerns about the possible implications of such decisions on the localism agenda.  I can, however, assure you that whilst appeal decisions are made at the national level, they are informed by evidence submitted by the parties locally.  This would include the degree of compliance with local planning policies and the views of local residents.

I am unable to add to this except to say that, due to the strict timescales in place, any High Court Challenge must be lodged by January 30th 2012.

Yrs etc.

He knows very well, of course, that while local groups may raise tens of thousands of pounds to fight their case locally, they are most unlikely to be able to fund an appeal to the High Court.  I should stress here that I mean no personal criticism of Sir Michael.  He is merely doing his job.  On the contrary, I blame Brussels, and the pusillanimous politicians in London who have accepted the EU policy.

Come to think of it, perhaps my paraphrase of Sir Michael’s letter was unnecessarily long.  In plain English, the letter says “B****r Off”.

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5 Responses to Naseby Battlefield wind farm:

  1. Phil H says:

    Roger – It is becoming tedious to give long, insightful, well thought out replies to all the constant poison emanating from the EU.
    I will paraphrase – 100% of the Lib-Dems, 90% of the Labour Party, 50% of the Tories and 100% of the FCO are nothing but self-serving, treasonous, quisling scum!
    Until we get a true Conservative leader with principles and the fortitude of Thatcher & Churchill we are finished!! Cameron needs to go before its too late!

    • Roger Helmer said: “… I blame Brussels, and the pusillanimous politicians in London who have accepted the EU policy.”

      Brussels only gets away with that which we allow. The blame lies squarely on our UK politicians, especially in their headlong rush to push us back into a subsistence economy. They could stand against this nonsense but that would require backbone.

  2. DaveP says:

    Agree with Alfred and Phil, but the people so inconvenienced by wind turbines have to grow a backbone too.

    It strikes me that the only thing that might get our so called rulers giving their subjects a thought, would be to withold their life blood..taxes. Never mind quiet local fund raising and meekly attending windfarm enquiries; it gets no one anywhere. I have a third wind factory now planned by me, and I am now going to withold my council tax and be civilly disobedient and organise others to do the same. I have nothing to lose, as Im told my property will be worthless and uninhabitable with massive turbines 600 meters away. Surely the communities around Naseby can rise up and withold their taxes too.

  3. Wind turbines are only built because our politicians are sufficiently ignorant, and deliberately so, of the science of the greenhouse effect. It is not CO2 that is overwhelmingly the major player but water vapour. BUT, there is no money in pretending that we can do anything about it. Even Huhne would hesitate at that. It is all about HMG believing the renewable lobby, whilst the latter scare the hell out of the population with horror stories, then come riding to the recue.

    Climate change is natural, and has been happening since time began, but Camerons Dad-in-law is making a nice little earner out of wind turbines, and who is to say nay to that!!!

    Richard Phillips

  4. maureen gannon says:

    Richard I do not live anywhere near Naseby but I friend drew my attention to its destruction by this excuse for a goverment. . it is in my book treason to desecrate Englands historic sites, I have written to my MP asking how are they allowed to continuously lie in parliament when they expouse that the localism bill is to return power to the people. what contempt they treat us with to believe we are so ignorant we do not see through the charade, and why as Engllish MP’s they are allowing the Europeanisation of this once proud land , bLiar changed the demographics and now the Condems are destroying our history . I should add It’s a good job I haven’t held my breath waiting for a reply as I have yet to get one , along with the one asking why MP’s as public sector workers they are not having their pay and pensions cut. still waiting .

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