Locals could stop wind farms

Residents could be able to stop construction of wind farms under tough new rules. New guidance is expected to tell councils that local people's concerns should take precedence over the need for renewable energy.

Live updates

Government should not 'stifle' wind industry

WWF-UK has warned the government that it should be careful not to "stifle" the onshore wind industry just to silence a "vocal minority".

Nick Molho, the head of climate and energy policy at WWF-UK, said:

Polls consistently show that the public support renewable energy and want more of it - yet parts of the Government seem determined to put up barriers to its development.

The Prime Minister says that he wants the UK to win the low-carbon race, but too often his own side seems to be holding him back.

We'd also hope that the Government will be consistent on its approach to planning and impose similar rules on other parts of the energy sector, such as onshore shale gas development.

– Nick Molho

Tory MP: 'Beginning of the end' of unwanted turbines

A general view of Wind Turbines at West Somerton on the Norfolk coast. Credit: Stephen Pond/PA Archive

A Conservative MP said the government's new proposals on wind farms that would allow communities to stop them being built in their area marked "the beginning of the end" of unwanted onshore turbines.

Chris Heaton-Harris, MP for Daventry, said the views of local residents and councils had been "ridden roughshod over" for too long and welcomed the rules.

Advertisement

RenewableUK: Financial 'sweetener' is uneconomic

RenewableUK, an energy trade association, said the government's proposals of giving communities a financial "sweetener" for having wind farms in their area was "uneconomic."

Developing wind farms requires a significant amount of investment to be made upfront.

Adding to this cost, by following the Government's advice that we should pay substantially more into community funds for future projects, will unfortunately make some planned wind energy developments uneconomic in England, so they will not go ahead and that is very disappointing.

That said, we recognise the need to ensure good practice across the industry and will continue to work with Government and local authorities to benefit communities right across the country which are hosting our clean energy future.

– Maria McCaffery, chief executive of RenewableUK

Over 4,000 wind turbines in UK

The government has announced a raft of new proposals that gives communities the chance to stop wind farms being built in their area.

Here is a look at how important wind turbines are for the UK's energy supply:

  • Onshore wind provided 3% of the UK's electricity supplies in 2011.
  • That generated enough power for the equivalent of 2.5 million homes.
  • More than 4,000 wind turbines are in operation across the country.
  • Almost 6,000 are under or awaiting construction or in the planning system.
  • The industry attracted £1.6 billion in private investment in 2011/2012.
  • It supports approximately 1,800 jobs.

Communities 'should see windfall' of hosting turbines

Energy Secretary Ed Davey said the government's wind farm proposals aimed to ensure that communities would "see the windfall" of hosting developments in their area.

Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Davey. Credit: Nick Ansell/PA Archive

He said: "It is important that onshore wind is developed in a way that is truly sustainable - economically, environmentally and socially, and today's announcement will ensure that communities see the windfall from hosting developments near to them, not just the wind farm.

"We remain committed to the deployment of appropriately sited onshore wind, as a key part of a diverse, low carbon and secure energy mix and committed to an evidence-based approach to supporting low carbon power."

Concerns over government's wind farm 'sweetener'

The renewable energy industry has raised concerns over the proposed "sweetener" of higher payments to communities for allowing wind farms in their area.

Wind turbines in Essex. Credit: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

They believe the new measures would make some developments uneconomic and prevent them from going ahead.

The new measures proposed by the Government would demand a five-fold increase in what developers are expected to pay residents for allowing wind turbines in their local area.

A community agreeing to a medium-sized wind farm that might involve around 10 turbines would receive a package of benefits worth £100,000 a year or seeing up to £400 cut from each household's bill.

One scheme, which is already running, has seen residents close to a wind farm in Aberdeen get £122 off their bills.

RenewableUK, an energy trade association, estimates that turbines in the planning system or approved but not yet built could deliver up to almost £150 million to communities.

Advertisement

New rules will give residents ability to stop wind farms

Residents will be able to stop the construction of wind farms under new guidance which puts people's concerns over the need for renewable energy.

As part of a package of measures that will significantly increase the amount of money communities will receive for agreeing to host wind farms nearby, the changes include hundreds of pounds off energy bills for householders.

Tough rules for wind farms: could this mark the end of onshore wind? Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Energy Secretary Ed Davey said the Government remained committed to "appropriately sited onshore wind" but a Downing Street source said David Cameron felt it was "important that local voters are taken into account."

However concerns have been raised that the new rules will mark the end of new onshore wind, making it harder to build wind farms, with not many communities keen to take up the "sweetener" of payments.

The renewables industry said that the much higher rate of payments would make some developments uneconomic and prevent them from going ahead.

Back to top