An English MP wants a new rule to say wind turbines can’t be built within 1.5 miles of homes. This would mean saying goodbye to new wind farms in the English countryside.

Peter Luff MP will tomorrow table a ten minute rule bill asking for an arbritrary 2km buffer zone between wind turbines and homes. This would mean a halt to new wind farms in England which is struggling to meet its renewable energy targets.

Ten minute rule bills are often used by MPs to provoke a debate and although unlikely to be successful- an arbritrary 2 km limit would bring about a collapse in the entire English onshore wind industry. This in turn would also probably cause some damage to the offshore wind energy sector as England is seen increasingly by wind turbine manufacturers (like Vestas on the Isle of Wight) as anti-wind. Attempts to kick off small or community led renewable energy projects would be much harder without the support of a healthy renewables industry.

The reason for such drastic implications is partly due to the remote areas of England being made up of our National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Currently commercial wind turbines are not allowed in these areas due to the protective nature of planning policies that apply. Without changing the rules and allowing wind farms in these areas, an unsubstantiated 1.5 mile from house rule will make it even harder or even impossible to meet our national renewable energy targets and makes a farce of our commitment to do something about climate change.

Wind farm applications should be decided on the basis of whether noise levels are quiet enough at nearby houses, in terms of decibels - not a distance limit set to wipe out onshore wind energy.

I have asked many people who live within 1km of a wind farm, from Ardrossan in Scotland to Mablethorpe in Lincolnshire whether they have any problems with regard to noise or vibration from wind turbines, and time after time - the answer is ‘no’.

Most surveys show that people feel that their local wind farm has had a generally positive impact on the area, including a survey commissioned by the Scottish Executive and carried out by Mori in 2003. This survey demonstrated that people are three times as likely to say their wind farm has had a positive impact than a negative impact.