PM plans to lift ban on onshore wind – but will it be enough?

Rishi Sunak is reportedly preparing to lift the ban on onshore wind turbines, rather than risk the Tory part being defeated in a Commons vote. 

In July, the former Cop26 president Sir Alok Sharma proposed an amendment to the Government’s Energy Bill, which would see the ban lifted and he has accrued sufficient support within the party that the support of only a handful more Tory MPs would be needed to vote the Government down.wind turbine surrounded by grass

Speaking to the Telegraph, Sir Alok said: ‘Last autumn the Government committed to change the planning rules by the end of April this year to overturn the de facto ban on onshore wind. Unfortunately, this has not happened.

‘This amendment will help to deliver on the Government’s own promise to unlock investment in one of the cheapest forms of energy. Ultimately this will bring down household bills and improve our energy security.’

According to reports, permission will be granted for wind farms ‘when it has been demonstrated that the planning impacts have been satisfactorily addressed and the proposal has community support.’

However, Doug Parr, Greenpeace UK Chief Scientist points out this phrase appeared in the revised planning guidance that was consulted on at the beginning of 2023  which was rejected by prospective onshore wind developers as still carrying too much risk to take projects forward.
He says: ‘Unless those phrases are properly clarified – not left vague – no developer will take forward proposed farm knowing a few odd objections could stop it More generally, it is absurd in climate crisis & high energy costs, govt still deliberately obstructs cheapest energy available.’
Under current regulations, onshore wind farms are not technically banned but because planning permission will be refused if a single objection is received it effectively is.
Sarah Merrick is the Founder and CEO of Ripple Energy whose second project, Kirk Hill Wind Farm is currently under construction, said: ‘We welcome the overturning of the ban on onshore wind, it’s been a long time coming. It is key that local communities, as well as consumers more broadly, can directly benefit from the green low-cost power from wind farms near them. Ripple has already shown people owned wind farms work, now it’s time to roll these out across England. Households across the country must be able to own and directly benefit from the clean energy transition.’
Meanwhile, environmental group Possible are exhorting people to write to their MP asking for their support.


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