ONE of Britain’s biggest environmental groups has hit out at Hampshire County Council’s proposal to ban wind farms on its land.

Representatives from Friends of the Earth (FoE) spoke out after gathering in the New Forest to show their support for wind power and other forms of renewable energy.

The county council says it recognises the benefits of wind farms but claims the huge turbines are a blot on the landscape.

As reported in the Daily Echo, Councillor Keith House, leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition group on the Tory-run authority, has described the proposed ban as “simply bonkers”.

Now FoE has joined the debate, staging a protest at which members from across Hampshire brandished cards spelling out the words “Clean British Energy”.

Penny Russell, the organisation’s co-ordinator in the New Forest, said: “Energy from free resources such as the wind and sun is crucial to our energy supply. “It’s clean, renewable and environmentally friendly.

“We were really shocked to see that Hampshire County Council is considering ruling out wind power on its land. “We thought the council was committed to helping reduce climate change.

“Renewable energy projects should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

“Wind and solar power are good news for the economy as well as the environment, and a blanket ban on one technology is sending out a negative message.”

The county council is a major landowner, with tenant farms, country parks and other sites across Hampshire.

The deputy leader, Councillor Mel Kendal, has defended the possible ban.

Speaking earlier this month, he said: “We are completely signed-up to the benefits of low-carbon energy but believe large scale wind turbines do not provide a sufficient benefit to justify the loss of some of Hampshire’s most prized undeveloped countryside.”

The row coincides with plans to build a £3billion wind farm off the Hampshire coast.

Dutch-based energy firm Eneco wants to install up to 300 turbines just nine miles from Barton-on-Sea. Construction could start in 2017.