At present, with all development projects, including wind-farms, the various providers for the Impact Assessments, (including issues such as hydrology and wildlife) are all chosen and paid-for by the developer.

This produces an obvious conflict of interest, which is one of the worst sins of governance. He who pays the Piper calls the Tune. And indeed this is what happens. The reports are usually very long and dull (so they are not read too closely by councillors), and are packaged to be independent. But most are in effect geared to helping the paymaster.

Providers of Environmental Impact Assessments are well aware that if their reportPayday Loan doesn’t ultimately help a developer, then they are unlikely to be hired by other developers. Quite apart from the issue of whether the environmental reports are influenced by financial considerations, there remains the ever-present issue that not only should these matters be fair, but they should be SEEN to be fair.

There is an easy solution: Councils, who are dealing with these environmental issues should provide a Preferred Suppliers List. The Developers would have to choose from this list. This would not entirely solve the problem (ultimately the assessments would still be paid by the developer) but it would considerable reduce the issue of Conflict of Interest.

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