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Wind turbines profits for hereditary landowners

Generous subsidies are encouraging hereditary landowners to build turbines up to 410ft tall on their land.

According to The Telegraph opponents claim wind farms are blighting the countryside while failing to deliver a reliable supply of electricity despite the cost.

Latest figures show the amount of electricity generated by UK wind farms actually fell last year because of the lowest average wind speeds this century.

However, supporters say a network of wind farms will guarantee Britain cheap, sustainable energy in the future.

The turbines being hosted by the landed gentry are almost always many miles from the aristocrats’ own homes. The Duke of Gloucester, who lives in an apartment in Kensington Palace in London, is hoping to build a wind farm 85 miles away on his ancestral estate in Northamptonshire, which he moved out of in 1994. Each turbine could earn the Duke, who is the Queen’s cousin, up to £20,000 a year and possibly much more.

It comes as Sir Reginald Sheffield, David Cameron’s father-in-law, whose baronetcy was created in the mid 18th century, admitted last week he earns as much as £350,000 a year from eight turbines on his estate at Bagmoor in Lincolnshire.

In a letter last week to the Spectator magazine, Sir Reginald protested that he did not own the turbines on Bagmoor farm and that his estate received only a “modest income” amounting to “less than one tenth” of £3.5 million.

Calculations by an energy think tank suggested Sir Reginald could be receiving about £120,000.

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