No link to wind farm insists UKIP Euro-MP

William Dartmouth
William Dartmouth
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A EURO MP has vehemently denied politically toxic suggestions that he could benefit from a wind turbine scheme in Yorkshire.

William Dartmouth, the UK Independence Party MEP for the South West, insisted he had been linked to the proposed turbines on land at Slaithwaite, near Huddersfield, by mistake.

However, it has been confirmed that the land in question is owned by a company which represents interests of the wider Dartmouth family.

Ukip is opposed to wind farms and any link between one of its representatives and turbines would be hugely damaging.

Last month, Ukip’s economic spokesman Professor Tim Congdon stood down after he was linked to wind farm developments in Scotland.

The Earl of Dartmouth, also known as William Legge, was drawn into the row over proposals for three turbines on Slaithwaite Moor when the name ‘William Dartmouth’ appeared on the planning application as someone with an interest in the land.

The Earl’s family is known to have significant land interests in the area but he insisted there was no personal connection with the proposed wind turbine site.

In a statement, he said: “I am not the applicant. I do not own the land in question.

“The land which is the subject of the planning application is owned by a relative.

“I derive no benefit, financial or otherwise, from the land as it stands, nor would I if the planning application were successful.

“An adjacent piece of land, which is owned by me, was erroneously included in the application.

“This strip of land would not be involved in the wind turbine application in any shape or form.”

He added: “The reason that the name Rosscroft Ltd appears on the above planning application, as well as in relation to land which I do own, is that they represent the entire extended Dartmouth family as well as many other clients.”

In last month’s debate with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Ukip leader Nigel Farage criticised land owners for earning money simply by hosting wind turbines.

In his statement, the Earl said: “As a UK Independence Party MEP I fully endorse the party policy to oppose onshore wind turbine development.”

The proposal for the three wind turbines has been put forward by the Valley Wind Co-operative which is looking to raise £10m by selling shares in the project.

Asked to clarify the ownership of the land, the organisation issued a statement which said: “Rosscroft Ltd are the owners of the land on which Valley Wind Cooperative holds an option for a wind development.”

Rosscroft Ltd is registered at an address in London occupied by an accountancy firm.

The firm was unable to say whether Rosscroft Ltd was one of its clients and said any communication would need to be by letter.

The Earl of Dartmouth sat in the House of Lords until reforms saw the removal of most hereditary peers. The step-brother of Diana, Princess of Wales, he was elected to the European Parliament in 2009.