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Wind-farm company in land purchase row

"In the legal and planning tradition of this country, powers of compulsory purchase are rarely granted, and this growing precedent for automatic award of such powers to enable businesses to further their commercial ends is deeply disturbing."[Campbell Dunford, chief executive, Renewable Energy Foundation]

ONE of Scotland's largest renewable-energy companies prompted protests yesterday by applying for compulsory purchase powers to help it to drive through its planned wind-farm developments across Britain.

CRE Energy, a wholly owned subsidiary of ScottishPower, has submitted an application to Ofgem, the gas and electricity industry regulator, to be granted compulsory purchase powers under the 1989 Electricity Act to acquire land needed for a series of wind-farm schemes throughout the country.

But pressure group the Renewable Energy Foundation (REF) condemned the proposals as an attempt to "ride roughshod" over the rights and liberties of individual landowners.

Campbell Dunford, the foundation's chief executive, said: "In the legal and planning tradition of this country, powers of compulsory purchase are rarely granted, and this growing precedent for automatic award of such powers to enable businesses to further their commercial ends is deeply disturbing. The essence of renewable energy is sustainability, co-operation and mutual benefit. The fact that some companies feel the need to ride roughshod over individual liberties and obtain powers of compulsory purchase reveals their projects in their true,... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
ONE of Scotland's largest renewable-energy companies prompted protests yesterday by applying for compulsory purchase powers to help it to drive through its planned wind-farm developments across Britain.

CRE Energy, a wholly owned subsidiary of ScottishPower, has submitted an application to Ofgem, the gas and electricity industry regulator, to be granted compulsory purchase powers under the 1989 Electricity Act to acquire land needed for a series of wind-farm schemes throughout the country.

But pressure group the Renewable Energy Foundation (REF) condemned the proposals as an attempt to "ride roughshod" over the rights and liberties of individual landowners.

Campbell Dunford, the foundation's chief executive, said: "In the legal and planning tradition of this country, powers of compulsory purchase are rarely granted, and this growing precedent for automatic award of such powers to enable businesses to further their commercial ends is deeply disturbing. The essence of renewable energy is sustainability, co-operation and mutual benefit. The fact that some companies feel the need to ride roughshod over individual liberties and obtain powers of compulsory purchase reveals their projects in their true, profit-driven, colours. This is a civil liberties issue, pure and simple. The unjustified allocation of these powers should be resisted tooth and nail."

A spokesman for CRE Energy denied the pressure group's claims. He claimed that while the powers would, in theory, allow the firm to purchase land for wind-farm sites compulsorily, they would only be used to acquire small areas of land for associated developments.

"There is no question of us adopting a policy of using these powers to purchase land for wind farms," said the spokesman. "They would be used as a last resort to buy small parcels of land when we are being held to ransom, for example for grid connections or points for the erection of electricity poles coming out of wind-farm sites. At the main wind-farm site we work in co-operation with the landowner. It would not be in our interests to use these powers to purchase wind-farm sites."

An Ofgem report states: "In its application, CRE explained that it intends to develop a series of wind farms at various locations in the UK, in respect of which it considered it would be helpful to have the power to acquire land compulsorily. CRE also considered that it would be helpful to have the power of compulsory wayleaves [permission to pass] available to it for activities such as the installation and connection of associated cables, the export of power off site, construction and lay-down areas and access. In its application, CRE confirmed that, in the first instance, it is its intention to attempt to acquire land and/or wayleaves by negotiation with the relevant landowners and not by seeking authorisation for compulsory acquisition and/or compulsory wayleaves from the Secretary of State."

Source: http://news.scotsman.com/sc...

JAN 6 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/922-wind-farm-company-in-land-purchase-row
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