A NEW policy that will effectively prevent wind farms being built in Wiltshire has been branded a political game by Lib Dem councillors.

At a Wiltshire Council meeting in Devizes, a motion to restrict the height and distance of wind turbines from residential homes, which includes those in Cricklade and Royal Wootton Bassett, was passed by a majority Tory vote.

Turbines that are more than 25 metres high will not be built within 1km of homes and there will be a minimum distance of 1.5km for 50-metre high turbines and 3km for turbines greater than 150 metres.

The reason given by the Conservatives for the late amendment to Wiltshire core strategy was the safety of residents in case a blade was to break.

But Coun Simon Killane (Lib Dem, Malmesbury) said it was absolute nonsense and Tory councillors were merely trying to win votes, after an opinion poll showed a decline in public support for wind technology.

“What the Lib Dem group is saying is: yes there is a place for wind technology, but it must be done in the right location and on a case-by-case basis.”

Wiltshire Council’s cabinet member for environment, Toby Sturgis, said the policy would not stop residents getting the technology if they wanted it.

“If a community want a wind turbine and they all support it, it will be taken into consideration when a planning committee make a decision.”

Wiltshire’s core strategy has now been approved and a decision is expected early next year.