A letter from Together Against Wind and Chris Heaton-Harris MP
I just wanted to let you know about Thursday’s announcement in Parliament about changes to planning law which will ensure local residents affected by wind farm proposals will actually have a proper say in whether wind turbines are sited in, or near, their communities.
In essence, new planning guidance supporting the planning framework from DCLG will make clear that the need for renewable energy does not automatically override environmental protections and the planning concerns of local communities. It will also give greater weight to landscape and visual impact concerns. I attach a copy of the Secretary of State’s Written Statement to Parliament on this issue.
Anybody who has been involved in a local campaign to fight an inappropriately sited onshore wind farm will know that on every occasion, local opinion is trumped at the planning appeal by national energy policy/targets. The changes announced mean that this is reversed and more weight has to be given to local opinion. From what I can gather, subsidies will also be reviewed on an annual basis.
This is superb news for those fighting unwanted wind farms across the whole of England and this policy change has come about through the vigorous campaigning of local communities up and down the country who for too long have been ridden roughshod over. I really am delighted that Conservative Ministers have listened to our concerns. So, ‘thank you’ to you for all of your campaigning efforts to help get us to this stage – it really is appreciated.
I truly believe that this announcement brings about the beginning of the end of new onshore wind turbines across England. It is extraordinarily excellent news!
Interestingly, new figures released today also show there is currently approximately 6.3GW (4074 turbines) of onshore wind in operation, 6.7GW (2857 turbines) under construction or awaiting construction and 5.7GW (2995 turbines) in planning system. Our 2020 target was to have 13GW capacity. This target has already been hit – seven years early.
Keep up the good fight and ‘thank you’ again for all of your support!
Chris Heaton-Harris MP.