Enter your email to read this article
Read news on any topic, in one place, from publishers like The Economist, FT, Bloomberg and more.

Government set to make it easier for developers to build wind farms

The Government is going to make wind farm developments in England faster and easier to complete. It is taking action because no new wind farms have been approved in the past seven years.

Developers were forced to address local concerns about a new wind farm, and just one person could hold up an entire project. The rules that were put in place in 2015 have effectively stopped the construction of any new onshore wind farms in the UK since then.

The rules currently in place put the onus on councils to map out areas that would be suitable for wind development, and most simply did not have the resources to do this. Such permission is not needed for any other type of development.

The renewables industry has tentatively welcomed today's announcement to make it easier for developers to build wind turbines in England for the first time in seven years. Jess Ralston, senior analyst at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, said: “Around eight in 10 people support onshore wind, so the ban has been a major anomaly in British energy policy given it’s both cheap and popular with the public.”

The Government says reforms to the rules will bring “onshore wind planning policy in line with other infrastructure to allow it to be deployed more easily in England”. But energy insiders warned that more detail will be needed, and rules will have to be changed, before they know how significant the move will be.

Dan McGrail, the chief executive of trade body RenewableUK, said: “Removing the block on onshore wind in England means we can generate significantly more cheap electricity for hard-pressed bill payers in areas where projects have local support.” He added: “Speeding up the planning process for offshore wind is vital too as it will allow us to unlock an enormous amount of new capacity much faster.”

But green experts also warned that the plans will also make it easier for companies to drill for oil and gas, which could throw the country off course in attempting to meet its environmental targets. “The Chancellor’s statement offered neither the policies, investment, or strategy to realise the huge opportunities to create prosperity that delivering net zero and restoring nature offer,” said Luke Murphy, associate director of energy, climate, housing and infrastructure at the IPPR think tank.

“There were welcome albeit small steps on energy efficiency and depending on the detail, onshore wind, but in other areas the Government is going in the opposite direction. It is removing the moratorium on fracking, expediting licenses to drill for more climate-destroying and expensive oil and gas, and proposing to rip up environmental protections.”

Related Stories
Government gives green light for onshore wind farms in England
There has been a practical ban on building new wind farms in England since 2015
From analysis to the latest developments in health, read the most diverse news in one place.
Queensland government plans to build Australia's largest state-owned wind farm — to be operational by 2026
The state government says the Tarong West Wind Farm will be built by the state's energy corporation Stanwell. It will…
Fracking could affect many protected areas across England as ban is lifted
Guardian analysis finds 151 licences already granted threaten environmentally important spots
Planning rules for new onshore windfarms likely to be eased in UK
Wind could be more productive way than fracking to boost electricity supplies and bring down prices
UK government lifts gas fracking ban in England
London (AFP) - Britain on Thursday lifted England's moratorium on controversial gas fracking to boost energy security, despite breaking the…
One place to find news on any topic, from hundreds of sites.
Mini-budget fell far short of promoting low-carbon future for UK
While not devoid of green measures, Kwarteng’s announcement was more notable for what it did not include