One of Britain's largest conservation groups has broken ranks with fellow environmentalists to criticise the rapid development of onshore wind farms.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has published a report attacking the "cavalier approach" of many wind-farm developers to local concerns. It also listed new turbine sites slated to be built next to national parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty and sites of special scientific interest.
They include permission to build six turbines between the Lake District National Park and Solway Coast, designated an area of outstanding natural beauty, despite planners admitting the turbines would "reduce the sense of wildness and remoteness". CPRE chief executive Shaun Spiers said he was not against wind energy but how it was applied: "We must find a way of reconciling climate-change mitigation and landscape protection."
The CPRE claims more than 4,100 turbines are either completed, in construction or awaiting approval for England. But Renewable UK, representing the renewable-energy industry, said the figure was wrong as it included off-shore sites – it should be 1,826. Director Dr Gordon Edge said: "The biggest threat to our landscapes is climate change."