Restriction on Onshore farms to be lifted following Tory pressure.

Restriction on Onshore farms to be lifted following Tory pressure.

Reversal of Onshore Wind Farm Ban Anticipated Pressure from Conservative MPs is expected to lead to the reversal of the de facto ban on onshore wind farms, with government ministers set to make an announcement in a written ministerial statement on Tuesday.

Government’s Previous Stance As of Monday, Downing Street had not officially confirmed the reports but maintained that the government’s position “has not changed.” Prime Minister Boris Johnson had previously pledged in October to uphold the ban on onshore wind farms.

Sir Alok Sharma’s Push for Change Former Cop26 president Sir Alok Sharma has played a prominent role in lobbying Conservative backbenchers to challenge the ban on onshore wind farms. He has expressed a desire to amend rules that allow a single objection to halt development.

One Objection Blocking Development Currently, a single objection can prevent the construction of a wind farm. This mechanism has faced criticism for effectively enabling individual objections to override community interests and the planning system’s effectiveness.

Immediate Implementation of Changes The written ministerial statement is expected to outline changes that were agreed upon during the passage of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill. These changes are set to take effect immediately, marking a significant step forward in the onshore wind energy sector.

Focus on Local Community Consent and Benefits A government source emphasized the importance of local community consent and benefits for onshore wind developments. The government seeks to strike a balance between empowering local communities and supporting the growth of the onshore wind sector.

Desire for a More Permissive Planning Regime MPs, including Sir Alok Sharma, who have endorsed amendments to the Energy Bill, advocate for a more permissive planning regime regarding onshore wind projects. They aim to remove the current restriction allowing a single objection to block development.

Direct Benefits for Communities Sir Alok Sharma stressed the need for direct community benefits for areas willing to host onshore wind developments. This could include benefits such as discounts on energy bills, ensuring that communities actively participating in such projects reap tangible rewards.

The Call to Remove Individual Veto Rights Advocates for change, including Sir Alok Sharma, argue that the right of an individual to effectively veto a wind farm, which they deem “outdated,” should be eliminated. They believe that the planning system should operate in a more sensible and community-centered manner.

Awaiting Government’s Detailed Proposal The final outcome will depend on the government’s detailed proposal in the ministerial statement and the willingness of ministers to embrace these changes. It remains a pivotal development in the discussion surrounding onshore wind farms in the UK.

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