POLITICS

Ukip MEP William Dartmouth 'Hypocrite' Over Wind Turbines, Warns Tory Rival

23/04/2014 14:47 BST | Updated 23/04/2014 15:59 BST
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TORQUAY, ENGLAND - MARCH 01: William Dartmouth UKIP MEP speaks on stage at the UKIP 2014 Spring Conference at the Riviera International on March 1, 2014 in Torquay, England. The anti-European Union UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage is looking to galvanise support ahead of May's European Parliament elections when they hope to win the most seats in the contest, building on its strong poll ratings and success in last year's local elections. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Ukip MEP William Dartmouth "will have to accept the label of hypocrite" for failing to make clear that he will not benefit from a potential onshore wind farm project in Yorkshire, critics have warned.

The Earl of Dartmouth, an MEP for the South West of England, has faced mounting questions over his links to the Valley Wind Co-operative project, which will see three 300ft wind turbines built on Slaithwaite Moor near Huddersfield on land that the MEP owned until recently. The MEP says that the land is now owned by a "relative", who could potentially earn £60,000-a-year from the wind turbines.

Dartmouth transferred the land in February 2011 to a firm Rosscroft Limited, which is run by offshore directors in the Bahamas and Monaco, with a planning application lodged for the wind turbines months later in 2013. The UKIP MEP still directly owns land adjacent to the project site.

Tory MEP Julie Girling, a fellow MEP for the South West, told HuffPostUK: "I am still not clear why he would transfer ownership of land 'not for money' in 2011 which is then the subject of an application for wind turbines in 2014. Clearly this is not illegal but it is perfectly reasonable to question the motives behind the transfer.

"As a constituent of the Earl of Dartmouth, I'd like him to make a declaration that he gains no financial advantage and has no future financial interest in Rosscroft Limited, if he cannot do this then he will have to accept the label of hypocrite after his vociferous condemnation of the wind generation business."

William Legge, better known as the Earl of Dartmouth, stated his opposition to new wind farms in his 2010 election leaflet, warning that an "obsession with carbon emissions hinders sensible measures to protect our environment" like nuclear power.

Lib Dem MEP Sir Graham Watson also accused the Earl of showing a "lack of candour" in his "vague" explanation of his links to the wind turbines.

Any revelation that Dartmouth was financially benefitting from wind turbines would be politically fatal given Ukip's vehement opposition to wind farms. Professor Tim Congdon was forced to stand down as a Ukip parliamentary candidate after it emerged that he had signed wind-farm deals on his Scottish estates.

In response to Girling, the Earl of Dartmouth said: "I have nothing to add at all to the statement I have previously given on this matter".

In a statement, he previously 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.

"As a UK Independence Party MEP I fully endorse the party policy to oppose onshore wind turbine development.

"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.'

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