THE leader of Hampshire County Council was set to come under pressure today to rethink a blanket ban on wind farms on county council land.
An environmental pressure group will tell Councillor Ken Thornber the ban is “misguided and harmful”.
The Conservative council imposed the ban saying the benefits of clean, sustainable wind energy did not currently outweigh the “adverse impacts” of putting turbines in the countryside.
A council report said that while some of Hampshire’s landscape was protected as a national park or an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, other pockets of open ountryside and “ancient landscape” were not.
It added: “The introduction of large wind turbines and wind farms within rural Hampshire will have very significant impacts in terms of visual intrusion and damage to historic quality and to tranquillity.”
But Angela Sealey, vice-chairman of Winchester Action on Climate Change (WinACC), which will make the opposite case at today’s policy and resources meeting, said: “The visual impact of wind turbines is reversible. The effects of climate change on our beautiful countryside are not.
“It is our responsibility to leave our children and grandchildren a world in which they can live safely and sustainably, not one ravaged by rising sea levels, floods and extreme temperatures.
“Councillors are entrusted to make decisions on behalf of Hampshire’s citizens now and in the future.
“Once a wind farm finishes its work, it can be removed and the land it occupied can be returned to its natural state. Decades from now other technologies might be available but we need renewable energy that works and we need it today.”
Friends of the Earth groups across Hampshire will also address the meeting.
The wind farm ban has been welcomed by countryside campaigners but some would like the council to go even further.
Douglas Patterson, chairman of Keep Hampshire Green, which is campaigning against a wind farm at Bullington Cross, north of Winchester, said: “We welcome the signal. But what we would really like is for Hampshire to go a step further and follow Lincolnshire’s lead and recommend there should be 2km between large turbines and inhabited locations or settlements.”