Government policy is designed to stimulate the development and application of all forms of renewable energy, including wind farms, wherever they have prospects of being economically competitive and environmentally acceptable.
Will my hon. Friend join me in congratulating Mr. Brian Peace of Rackenford in my constituency who has just obtained planning permission for a wind generator on his farm? Does my hon. Friend agree that the requirements are now so difficult and detailed that it might be a good idea if he and his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State were to give some advice on planning applications both to the applicants and to the councils that have to consider the applications?
The Minister has kindly anticipated my question. Although I do not wish to provoke a dispute between his Department and the Secretary of State for Wales, who is currently considering an application for a wind farm on my constituency boundary, will he assure the House and those who are interested in alternative sources of energy that his Department will produce those guidelines rapidly so as to encourage further such applications, especially from rural areas where the development of wind farms can benefit the agricultural economy as well as providing for local energy needs?
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his introductory remarks. Although I cannot comment on the specific case to which he has referred, which is known as the Cymmaes case, I can confirm that I am anxious to see wind farms built and demonstrated within the United Kingdom. I am therefore concerned about any delays or possible effects on the viability of such projects due to lack of planning policy guidance. That is one reason why we place such high priority on producing guidance along the lines that 1 mentioned to my hon. Friend the Member for Devon, North (Mr. Speller).