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Pressure mounts over Government “green” plans

[Monday 30 June 2008]

GROWING opposition to the Government’s so called “green” plans reached storm force over the weekend as more and more organisations and journalists asked whether they were intended to better the environment – or raise more money in taxation.

Last week, Gordon Brown triumphantly announced plans to build 7,000 wind turbines in England to create “green” electricity – with hilly areas like the Yorkshire Dales already targeted for at least one major development and others threatened, opponents fear.

These plans were rubbished by engineers, who said that wind farms will be hopelessly inefficient and need traditional power station for back up, and economists who estimated that such developments would add another £250 a year to a family’s already soaring fuel bills.

At the weekend, protests grew to a crescendo over plans to build 15 so-called “eco-towns” in open countryside when it was revealed that several of the sites involved former airfields – including Church Fenton near Tadcaster, North Yorks – which the Government plans to sell to developers to raise an estimated £275 million in extra revenue to fill the Treasury’s empty coffers.

The so-called eco-towns have also come under attack as being little different in green terms than ordinary developments –and although supposed to provide some affordable housing for low-paid workers, the average price per house is likely to be £300,000 plus.

Today (Monday) the Campaign to Protect Rural England asks that the Government goes “back to the drawing board” because of a “worrying lack of evidence” that the proposed eco-towns would meet the latest requirements for green homes.

Opposition politicians take an even more cynical line by pointing out that most wind farms and eco-towns are likely to be built in constituencies held by Tory or Lib-Dem MPs, despite growing local opposition to both.

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