WIND farms have effectively been banned from Wiltshire by a new policy voted through by councillors this week.

A row has now broken out between Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors over the policy, adopted.

The Tories want to impose restrictions, so turbines more than 25m high could not be built within 1km of any residential property.

There will also be minimum distances of 1.5km for turbines greater than 50m, 2km for those more than 100m and 3km for 150m turbines.

The distances are great enough to ensure that much of Wiltshire’s land would be unavailable for wind farm development.

The changes were voted through by a majority of Conservative councillors at a meeting in Devizes on Tuesday.

Council bosses claim the distances are needed to ensure the safety of residents in the rare chance that one of the blades was to break away.

Coun Toby Sturgis, cabinet member for the environment, said: “I was very disappointed that anyone voted against it. I was quite amazed that people want to compromise on safety. We need these guidelines to go forward.”

Lib Dem councillors say this last minute change to the policy could threaten the entire core strategy, which has this week been sent off for Government approval.

Coun Simon Killane, for Malmesbury, said: “It is simply crazy to be making a major change at this last minute stage.

“We need a proper policy, which will ensure that these applications are dealt with on an individual basis, looking at their site-specific issues.”

The policy has been based on the Wind Turbines (Minimum Distance from Residential Premises) Bill, which had its first reading in the House of Lords in May, but is still far from being adopted.

It will not affect smaller, private wind turbines, which are often fitted to houses and businesses.