UK eases effective ban on onshore wind in England

UK eases effective ban on onshore wind in England

Onshore wind projects have had less opposition in Scotland, where environmental and planning policy is controlled by the devolved government in Edinburgh
Onshore wind projects have had less opposition in Scotland, where environmental and planning policy is controlled by the devolved government in Edinburgh. Photo: Andy Buchanan / AFP
Source: AFP

The UK government eased a de facto ban on onshore wind in England on Tuesday, after growing pressure from environmental campaigners and some ruling Conservative lawmakers.

The changes will make it easier for willing communities to get wind turbines erected in their area, ending highly restrictive planning rules which meant a single local opponent could scupper proposed onshore wind projects.

Local government authorities were also required to draw up detailed plans showing all the areas suitable for onshore wind development before new wind farms could go ahead.

Those rules, introduced by former prime minister David Cameron in 2015 amid fears of a backlash from typically Tory voting rural communities, resulted in an effective ban on new wind farms and smaller sites.

Under the new regulations, communities can apply to their authority to have onshore wind turbines built which are not part of the so-called development plans.

Read also

Stocks down as traders await more China economic support measures

Elected councillors will still take the final decision, but must now take into account the view of communities as a whole and not just a small minority in opposition.

Meanwhile, the government said it will explore "improved rewards and benefits to be offered to communities backing onshore wind farms", which includes potential energy bill discounts.

"To increase our energy security and develop a cleaner, greener economy, we are introducing new measures to allow local communities to back onshore wind power projects," Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, said in a parliamentary statement.

"This will only apply in areas where developments have community support, but these changes will help build on Britain's enormous success as a global leader in offshore wind, helping us on our journey to net zero," he added.

Read also

Global tensions risk clean energy progress: IEA chief

Britain has become a global leader in offshore wind energy in recent years but increasingly lagged behind in onshore capacity, which is cheaper and quicker to build.

The planning rules update follows sustained calls by renewable energy advocates and a growing revolt by Tory MPs, including former COP26 president Alok Sharma.

The government also held a months-long public consultation earlier this year on the changes to the National Planning Policy Framework which saw over 26,000 responses.

However, some campaigners criticised Tuesday's moves as insufficient.

"These feeble tweaks are just more hot air from the government that'll result in very little wind," Greenpeace UK's policy director, Doug Parr, said.

"Developers will continue to face uncertainty over planning process and be beholden to quixotic decisions by local councils," he added.

"Who will put their money into developing projects under those circumstances?"

New feature: Сheck out news that is picked for YOU ➡️ click on “Recommended for you” and enjoy!

Source: AFP

Authors:
AFP avatar

AFP AFP text, photo, graphic, audio or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium. AFP news material may not be stored in whole or in part in a computer or otherwise except for personal and non-commercial use. AFP will not be held liable for any delays, inaccuracies, errors or omissions in any AFP news material or in transmission or delivery of all or any part thereof or for any damages whatsoever. As a newswire service, AFP does not obtain releases from subjects, individuals, groups or entities contained in its photographs, videos, graphics or quoted in its texts. Further, no clearance is obtained from the owners of any trademarks or copyrighted materials whose marks and materials are included in AFP material. Therefore you will be solely responsible for obtaining any and all necessary releases from whatever individuals and/or entities necessary for any uses of AFP material.

Online view pixel