HC Deb 26 June 1995 vol 262 cc558-9
14. Mr. Frank Cook

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage how many windmills are listed buildings; and what is their exact location. [28756]

Mr. Dorrell

Until the statutory list of buildings of special architectural or historic interest is computerised next year, it is not practicable to identify separately those windmills that are listed.

Mr. Cook

I am somewhat disappointed by that answer, especially as the number of windmills in this country may have decreased in the past four days. I ask the Secretary of State to consider the thesis that national heritage is not only a question of the past, but a question of what we leave for the future. With the accelerating rate of development of new materials and new design techniques, the windmills that are being installed now are every bit as cherishable as those that were built in the past. Perhaps the Secretary of State will be able to convince people that they are not simply a blot on the landscape, as some misguided press representatives out of Downing street try to persuade the electorate.

Mr. Dorrell

Individual windmills that are proposed for listing can be considered on a spot-listing basis. If the hon. Gentleman is suggesting that there are windmills being erected now—by which he probably means wind power generators—which merit protection, I am sure that he will understand that they should be guided by the same rules that apply to every other structure: namely, we do not list many structures until they are more than 30 years old.

Mr. Jacques Arnold

May I draw my right hon. Friend's attention, in compiling his list, to the working windmill on Meopham green in my constituency? It is not only a working windmill but it is unique in being the location at which the Meopham parish council holds its meetings. Whereas windmills use wind for good works, is that not a case of a windmill using hot air for extremely good works on behalf of the people of the parish of Meopham?

Mr. Dorrell

My hon. Friend's question brings Meopham to new prominence in the nation's affairs, and I am sure that that fact will be widely welcomed in Meopham.