Sector - Sustainability

Rules on onshore wind farms change

Since 2015, onshore windfarms have been limited in development through what amounted to an effective ban by the government which allowed just one objection to halt construction.

This month saw changes to that law, which will allow local communities that support onshore windfarms to take forward planned developments and benefit from cheaper energy bills.

The measures include broadening the ways that suitable locations can be identified, including by communities, and speeding up the process of allocating sites by giving alternatives to the local plan process. This will ensure the whole community has a say, not just a small number of objectors – paving the way for more onshore wind projects to come online where they have community support.

Locally elected councillors will have the power to decide local policy on onshore wind, and plans can be taken forward where they can demonstrate local support and address planning impacts identified by the community.

By supporting onshore wind, new proposals will see communities benefit from cheaper energy under proposals to incentivise more projects announced today. Government has consulted on proposals for improved benefits and rewards for communities backing onshore wind farms and will set out next steps this Autumn.

Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove said: “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.

“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.”

These changes to the National Planning Policy Framework build on the progress already made to expand renewables which has seen more than £120 billion investment since 2010, kickstarting new industries like floating offshore wind and tidal power.

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