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Keighley MP to have key wind farm job
Every new application for wind turbines must be judged on its own merits, according to Keighley MP Kris Hopkins.
And he is urging people to get involved in the planning process.
Wind farms form part of Mr Hopkins’ portfolio as housing minister, a role he was appointed to last week in the Prime Minister’s reshuffle.
A string of applications has been submitted to Bradford Council in recent times for turbines across the Keighley area. Several have been rejected and eight appeals are currently waiting to be heard. In his new post, Mr Hopkins could become involved in ruling on proposed schemes.
“There is a responsibility on the government to source renewable energy, and part of that is wind farms,” he said.
“I will be looking at schemes, on and off-shore, right across the country.
“Each will need to be considered on its own merits. If an application is rejected by local planners and goes to appeal, I would get a chance to be involved.”
He acknowledged turbines were a controversial subject and sparked mixed reactions from the public.
“There’s a broad spectrum of views – some people have huge affection for them and see them as a symbol as much as anything else, while others see them as an intrusion,” Mr Hopkins added. “A policy for wind farms is clearly laid out, and there is a planning process. I would encourage developers to engage with the public and the public to engage in that process. The system is there to be used.”
Mr Hopkins’s new post will also see him promoting the government’s Help to Buy scheme, part of efforts to assist people on to the housing ladder by giving them the chance to purchase a property with a fraction of the normal deposit.
One of his first duties as housing minister was to accompany Prime Minister David Cameron on a visit to a new-build scheme in Northampton.
“There are a lot of people out there desperate to get into the housing market and they need affordable access to it,” said Mr Hopkins (left).
This week, he revealed details of the help being given to military families wanting to step up the housing ladder.
More than 780 military households have either bought or reserved a new home through government schemes in the past two years.
Mr Hopkins, a former soldier with the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, said: “Our military men and women make a commitment that is far beyond just coming to work and doing a job. And yet often the perverse consequence of this service to their country has been enormous difficulties when trying to put down roots and buy a home.
“That’s why, from the outset, we ensured our troops were prioritised for home ownership schemes, and sent housing agents into military bases to help members of the armed forces with the process of buying a home.
“I’m delighted hundreds have seized this opportunity.”
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