Tories vote down Lib Dem renewable energy proposals!

Tories vote down Lib Dem renewable energy proposals!


The Liberal Democrat group on the Lewes District Council only needed one more vote to get a motion passed at Monday’s (Oct) full Council meeting which called for ‘new build’ planning applications to have a renewable energy scheme included in the planning application.


The controlling Conservative party voted the motion down by one vote (17 voted for the motion, 17 voted against and there were 2 abstentions). The motion said:


“That from 1 January 2018 all new housing and business/commercial planning applications to Lewes District Council include the provision of a ‘renewable energy scheme’; and that any such scheme would not become binding on the applicant unless included by the local planning authority as a condition of any planning permission granted”.


The Liberal Democrat District Council Transport & Environment spokesman Councillor Vic Ient said after the meeting “The Conservatives tried to say that existing policies include for renewable energy schemes but as we all know there have been no applications approved with a new renewable energy condition placed upon them. More especially, the Conservatives are ignoring the cost savings which owners and tenants will have with renewable energy, especially those on low incomes!”


Councillor Vic Ient made an impassioned plea to the Conservative controlling members on the Council to adopt this motion referring to the importance of dealing with climate change and pollution in many parts of the district including Newhaven, on the A259, Lewes and outside schools. He had been accused by the Conservatives of being guided by his heart. The Conservatives also said he was trying to rush things through. Councillor Ient responded saying “it’s not a rush. If you give planning permission now it might be three or 4 or 5 years before the development is completed! We need to act now!”


Many councillors spoke in favour of the motion and Prof Peter Gardiner, the Liberal Democrat spokesman on planning, said, “We are not having the impact that our planning policies were intended to have. Our policies were approved by the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. This motion will help implement our policies”


Sarah Osborne, Liberal Democrat group leader on the District Council added, “Government policy and our own local planning policy include many statements about sustainable development and renewable energy. Well, it’s now time to actually get on and implement some of these policies and not just give lip service to them.”


Summing up after the council meeting Sarah Osborne said “moving away from fossil fuels is a critically important issue for our planet and for removing pollution in the atmosphere. The Liberal Democrats won’t give up on this issue and will be continuing to press the Conservative -controlled council to actually implement national and local policies to deal with climate change.”