Pickles 'interfering in wind farm applications to shore up Tory votes'

Reports that 'Britain's wealthiest wind farm entrepreneur' is giving up trying to secure planning permission for more turbines after claiming that the government is blocking wind schemes to 'prevent Conservative voters switching to UKIP' feature in today's newspaper round-up.

The Times (subscription required) reports that Dale Vince, the owner of energy firm Ecotricity, "owns 60 turbines spread over 17 wind farms but said that he would not apply to build any more in England because he did not want to waste millions of pounds on projects that would be rejected". The newspaper says Vince "accused Eric Pickles, the communities secretary, of interfering unfairly in the planning system to prevent Conservative voters switching to Ukip".

The Guardian reports that a "three-year programme aimed at generating more than €300 billion (£237 billion) for huge infrastructure projects across the European Union is to be launched by the EU executive with the aim of kickstarting growth, combating unemployment and addressing the lack of investment in Europe". The newspaper says the InvestEU programme "is to be announced at the European parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday by the new and embattled head of the European commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, in what amounts to the first flagship policy of the new EU regime".

The Times reports that an accountant who built a 930 square metre leisure complex in his back garden has been told to demolish it because he did not seek planning permission. The newspaper says that Graham Wildin "dug more than five metres down before building the complex which included a 16-seat cinema, gym, two squash courts, a two-lane ten-pin bowling alley and a private casino and bar".

The Independent reports that the Supreme Court has been told that a government minister "behaved lawfully when he overturned a ruling by judges and halted the publication of letters written by Prince Charles to his predecessors". The newspaper says that nine years after the so-called "black spider" memos written by the heir to the throne to Labour ministers were first requested by a journalist, the Supreme Court has begun to hear the latest round in attempts to bring the prince’s lobbying of government into the public domain.

The Telegraph reports that a senior Chinese government official has said that the Chinese government is to unveil rules "making it harder for ‘strange buildings’ to be given planning permission". The newspaper says that, quoted in the Guangzhou Daily newspaper, Yang Shichao said: "It’s going to be difficult, but I believe it is a good thing that at least architects will design buildings that give more thought to the needs of the people and to environmental protection, rather than ones which seek simply to be eye-catching."

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