Campaign groups call on government to enable onshore wind projects

Campaign group Possible are among a group of organisations calling on the government to take action that will allow the proper roll-out of onshore wind in England, where there are less than half the number of turbines than in Scotland.

The government claimed they were doing this last year, when they agreed to change the National Planning Policy Framework. This removed the element by which planning permission would be refused if a single objection was raised but has ultimately led to no change in the status quo.

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According to the Guardian, no new applications for onshore wind projects had been submitted in the five months after this change. 

Possible have teamed up with Community Energy England, Uplift, the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, Friends of the Earth, Sharenergy, Greenpeace UK, Regen, Fuel Poverty Action, Warm This Winter and the RSPB to demand change.

Possible’s Ali Warrington said: ‘The government claims to have lifted the ban on new onshore wind in England, but six months later it’s clear that they’ve done no such thing. Not a single new project has come forward as a result of the minor tweaks made to a planning system which remains rigged against this clean, cheap and popular source of energy. It’s past time to truly lift the ban so that communities across the UK which want wind can get it, cutting energy bills and carbon emissions and helping to end reliance on expensive, volatile and dirty gas.’

The groups are asking the public to write to their local MP, highlighting the current impediments to onshore wind and suggesting solutions:

Communities that want to cut their bills and help tackle the climate crisis, by developing their own local energy and heat projects, face a number of serious policy barriers. These include:

  • The way that policy costs are charged mainly on consumers’ energy bills, rather than on gas, making it harder to get off gas.
  • New onshore wind projects are still virtually impossible in England, due to ongoing planning barriers.
  • Not enough access to support and low-cost finance for community projects.

To tackle this, the government needs to:

  • Reform the electricity market so that bill payers can benefit from the lower costs of renewable energy.
  • Remove the remaining planning barriers for new onshore wind, particularly for community projects.
  • Provide access to grant funding and low-cost finance for community energy and heat projects.
  • And expand the Boiler Upgrade Scheme to allow it to also support community heat projects.

Simon Francis, End Fuel Poverty Coalition. ‘The best way to bring down the price of electricity is to get more renewables onto the grid, to avoid the extortionate cost of energy generated by gas-fired power stations. If the Government doesn’t speed up the process of building more renewables, then it will fail to bring down energy bills and it will fail to improve energy security.”‘

Emma Bridge, Community Energy England said: ‘The government said it wanted to open up onshore wind in England where there were ‘supportive communities’. What it has actually done, which is full of ambiguities and difficult hurdles, has not increased the possibility of onshore wind happening in either the commercial or community sector. Many Community Energy England members would dearly like to do onshore wind. Very few of them, as cited in the letter, feel it is worthwhile progressing projects under the current planning regime.’


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