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Farmers 'Losing Out' to Renewable Projects

28 December 2012

UK - The Tenant Farmers Association has called on local authorities to work with rather than against their farm tenants in the development of renewable energy schemes.

TFA Chief Executive, George Dunn said, “We all understand the need to develop alternative means of energy production to ensure our long-term energy security as a nation but we must do so in a way which works positively with the communities who will be affected by the development of new energy schemes. Of late the TFA has been concerned that local authorities have taken for granted the fact that they have land available on agricultural holdings for the development of such schemes but have disregarded the needs of the tenant farmers farming that land.”

“Peterborough City Council is a case in point. It has decided to plough ahead with a scheme which will involve the loss of up to a thousand acres of prime agricultural land for the establishment of three large energy parks despite opposition from local communities and without proper consultation with the tenant farmers currently farming that land,” said Mr Dunn.

“Norfolk County Council also attempted to progress various schemes to install wind turbines on farms without adequate consultation with tenant farmers or compensation for their loss until the TFA stepped in to demand changes,” said Mr Dunn.

“Clearly there is a huge incentive for local authorities to develop renewable energy schemes on the basis of the public subsidy available. However, public money should not be used in a way which displaces viable businesses or tramples on the rights of others. Following the TFA’s intervention the position in Norfolk is now much improved but there is a long way to go to resolve the difficulties within Peterborough City Council. The farm tenants have established a local liaison group under the chairmanship of TFA member, Alan Skeels which is determined to do whatever is necessary in order to protect their interests. The TFA will be supporting the local group in its endeavours,” said Mr Dunn.

“We would warn all other local authorities considering the development of renewable energy schemes to do so on a basis of cooperation and not conflict. Local authorities need to remember that the homes and businesses of tenant farmers should be respected and to ensure that proper dialogue with farm tenants takes place,” said Mr Dunn.

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