We need your support to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can continue to hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Report (3rd Day)

Part of Infrastructure Bill [HL] – in the House of Lords at 6:45 pm on 10th November 2014.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of The Earl of Caithness The Earl of Caithness Conservative 6:45 pm, 10th November 2014

My Lords, I rise to oppose these amendments. I understand the principle behind them but, as my noble friend Lord Jenkin has reminded us, we are talking about something that is going to happen well below the surface. Having taken that into account, and while I agree with him that the amendment is in the wrong place, I also think that the principle of the amendment is quite important. However, what the noble Baroness has totally failed to do, and what the noble Lord, Lord Judd, has failed to do, is to explain why the present system of controls is not adequate.

I do not class myself as an environmentalist; I class myself much more as a countryman. I have a much broader range of interest than an environmentalist would have. The house that I used to own very recently up in Caithness was right beside an SSSI, and on that SSSI there wintered whooper swans and lots of geese and ducks. Around us there are now eight wind turbine farms. This is a huge area—an important one for nature—but the argument was looked at for every single one of those turbines. More recently, a planning application was made for four wind turbines to be sited much closer to the SSSI. My house was perhaps one of the nearest that was going to be affected by that and I lodged my objection on the grounds of nature and what effect the four wind turbines—which are considerably bigger than anything we are talking about in the fracking process and would be at a higher level for much longer—might have on the flight path of geese and swans.

The planning process worked perfectly and the decision was turned down. It has gone to appeal and I do not yet know what the result of that is, but my point is that the existing procedures are there now to protect such sites as these. I used the existing procedures and the planners looked at the existing procedures and agreed with all of us that had objected to these four wind turbines. I believe that what we have got in place is sufficient and we do not need any more.