By Gemma Childe on 9th May 2012
RenewableUK has defended the amount of wind turbines planned for England and claims a report, which raised concerns, is incorrect with its figures.
The wind industry body said that fewer than half the number of turbines quoted in the report by the Campaign to Protect Rural England were actually planned.
In the report, the CPRE highlights the "dramatic proliferation" of onshore wind turbines, claiming they are having a harmful effect on England’s rural landscape. It claims that "valued landscapes" are under threat from up to 4,100 wind turbines of 30 metres or taller that are either operational, under construction, or in planning.
A press release accompanying the report, meanwhile, claimed that there were plans for “more than 12,000 turbines”.
RenewableUK said that industry statistics show that only 1,826 turbines are actually planned for England and 8,581 for the entire UK.
Dr Gordon Edge, RenewableUK's director of Policy, said: "Striking a balance between our need for renewable energy to help combat climate change, while also protecting the landscape we all cherish, is the role of our planning system.
"However, given the CPRE have now realised that there's less than a sixth of turbines planned than they thought – only 1,826 compared to the 12,000 they originally stated, surely they should be more reassured. Perhaps their confusion over the figures is why they're so out of step with what people in rural areas actually think, in terms of both landscape impacts and overall popularity."
The CPRE report, called 'Generating Light on Landscape Impacts: How to Accommodate Onshore Wind while Protecting the Countryside’ calls for Government action to ensure onshore wind development is " locally accountable" and "strategically planned".
Shaun Spiers, CPRE chief executive, said. "There is no easy way to provide the country with the energy we need. CPRE accepts onshore wind in the right places as part of the mix required to meet the UK’s carbon reduction targets, but we are seeing more and more giant turbines sited in inappropriate locations.
"The Government must take responsibility and set out far more clearly a framework for meeting the country’s energy needs while protecting our matchless countryside."
According to a recent Ipsos MORI poll, 68 per cent of rural residents were in favour of the use of wind power, compared to 66 per cent of urban residents.