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Issue Date:- 18 February 2008

Sefton MBC Council should find its Windy Spots

SEFTON MBC should be required to identify possible windfarm sites in the borough according to a local Euro-MP. 

New EU targets require Britain to move from sourcing 2% of energy renewably to 15% within 13 years and energy from wind turbines is certain to play a significant part in meeting this.

According to the British Wind Energy Association there are currently 166 windfarms in the UK with a further 34 under construction.  But local Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies says that building more windfarms must not be at the expense of the many valued landscapes across the North West.

He said:- “Wind energy has a role to play, but if precious landscapes are to be lost the public must be convinced that our hills and moorland are not simply being exploited to support the latest get-rich-quick scheme from powerful property developers.”

Mr Davies says community based schemes similar to those used in Denmark should be put in place. Under this model each local authority would publish a map showing the locations, if any, where average wind speeds are sufficient to justify windfarm development.  Through public consultation they could then identify the places where this would command the greatest and least public support and amend planning guidance accordingly.

Chris Davies claims there are areas with high enough wind speeds that would receive little objection from the public.  He said:- “For example, there are places in the South Pennines where construction of hundreds of wind generators could take place without arousing huge opposition.  It would be hard to criticise the intrusion of wind farms along the M62 corridor where the landscape is already cut through by a 6-lane motorway. But precious landscapes shouldn’t be scarred with man made wind-farms until all options are explored to the full.”

To be economically viable in the UK, a potential site generally needs average wind speeds of above 6m/s at the hub height.

Lust to Litigation – how Valentine's Day romance can end in an employment tribunal

MOST small and many larger employers are blissfully unaware that office lust can lead to litigation even where the employer is not directly involved. Employers can be held liable for sexual harassment by one employee of another, even if the harassment occurs outside working hours.

A special poll commissioned by - the website which helps employers with employment law - has revealed that nearly 2/3rds of smaller employers and a surprising number of larger employers do not have written harassment policies, which could help to prevent unlimited claims. 

The joint / ComRes poll found that 62% of smaller employers failed to have written harassment policies in place.

Phillip Oppenheim, a former employment minister and founder of commented:- "A seemingly innocent Valentine's Day card, a text or email which is perceived by an individual to be offensive can result in a claim – and it does happen.  In one case, a senior City lawyer told a 29-year-old female solicitor that she had a 'great cleavage' – among other observations. That cost his firm a £1m settlement."

Legally, employers have to be aware of goings-on in the office and are responsible for an employee's behaviour in the workplace.  According to Phillip Oppenheim:- "One person's welcome advances could be another's harassment. And if an office romance goes wrong, we all know that something which might have been acceptable one day becomes unacceptable the next."

But according to, employers can avoid liability if they have proper policies to deal with harassment.  Says Phillip Oppenheim:- "Employers have to be well-informed and cover themselves where they can.  Having a harassment policy in place is a good first step, which is where can offer a helping hand".

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