Prime Minister Rishi Sunak reportedly intends to revoke the ban on new onshore wind farms, according to an article published by The Telegraph yesterday (3 September).
Under current planning rules, the development of a new onshore wind farm can be halted by the objection of a single resident. This de facto ban on onshore wind was introduced in 2015 and has been criticised throughout the industry for hindering to UK’s net zero target.
In November 2022, Simon Clarke MP, the former Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, put forward an amendment to the Levelling Up Bill lifting the de facto ban. This received backing from the clean energy industry, government minsters as well as former COP26 president Sir Alok Sharma.
According to The Telegraph, ministers are now set to introduce changes to the planning system for onshore wind farms, allowing councils to proceed with planning proposals where there is broad public support.
The changes have attracted much support, receiving a number of signatories from Conservative MPs (including former Prime Minister Liz Truss) who are said to be “confident” the amendment will pass.
Government sources quoted by The Telegraph stated that the amendment will grant councils: “more flexibly address the planning impacts of onshore wind projects as identified by local communities”.
The Telegraph also quoted a government source which said Downing Street was given little choice but to act on the amendment as it was supported by “senior people from all wings of the part.”
“The government committed to change planning rules by the end of April 2023 to overturn the de facto ban on onshore wind but this has not happened to date,” said Sharma in a statement from The Telegraph.
“This amendment therefore seeks merely to deliver on the government’s own promise and help to unlock investment in one of the cheapest forms of energy, and ultimately bring down household bills and improve the UK’s energy security.”
Sam Richards, founder and campaign director of Britain Remade, said: “Onshore wind is one of the cheapest forms of energy available, so if the Prime Minister is on the brink of lifting the senseless ban on building new turbines in England it’s a hugely welcome development. This should be welcomed by everyone who wants to see Britain have a secure supply of energy that will bring down energy bills for millions of households.
“Our polling has found that people across the country back onshore with 67% saying they would be happy with a wind farm development in their area. There is also a clear recognition of the benefits of clean growth with 69% of people agreeing that tackling climate change is good for the UK economy.”
Current± publisher Solar Media is hosting the third edition of its Wind Power Finance & Investment Summit Europe in London this 19-20 September. The conference will focus on investment strategies, alleviating bottlenecks, and which countries and technologies are the most exciting ahead as the industry sets to expand to help reach 2030 targets.
Packed with industry leaders representing financiers, investors, developers, government departments and more this is the leading conference for decision makers in the European wind industry. More information, including how to attend, can be read here.