New onshore wind energy consultations will not give residents right to veto, says report

18 June 2013 (Last Updated June 18th, 2013 03:30)

A report by planning consultancy Turley Associates has revealed that UK Government proposals to support the onshore wind energy programme and give local communities a greater say over projects will not create a residents agreement to veto new schemes.

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A report by planning consultancy Turley Associates has revealed that UK Government proposals to support the onshore wind energy programme and give local communities a greater say over projects will not create a residents agreement to veto new schemes.

This June the UK government unveiled new planning guidance, which will allow local communities to have more decision-making power over the construction of onshore wind farms in the country.

As per the proposals, the government will make pre-application consultation with local communities compulsory for large onshore wind applications.

Turley Associates director and renewable energy specialist Mark Worcester said: "This particular measure has generated significant media attention suggesting that communities will now be given the right to veto schemes. We do not believe this will be the case.

"In our experience, responsible developers already undetake extensive local engagement and consultation as a matter of course.

"In our experience, responsible developers already undetake extensive local engagement and consultation as a matter of course."

"Most developers will welcome the publication of best practice guidance, but do not expect it to significantly effect the delivery of wind energy schemes," he added.

Other proposals include the decision to retain ROCs at present levels (0.9/MWh), streamlined planning guidance for renewable energy schemes, improved community benefit payments and the introduction of a Community Energy Strategy to be published in the autumn.

Worcester noted that the Community Energy Strategy is perhaps the most interesting aspect of the government's announcement, and many developers already offering discounted energy supplies and the opportunity to invest to local communities.

"These measures, we believe, send a strong signal that the government remains committed to onshore wind energy schemes," he said.

"It is right the local communities have a greater say and receive some benefit from the development of energy infrastructure which is in the national interest, but they do not amount to charter to veto schemes."


Image: UK's new planning guidance will allow local communities to have greater say over the construction of onshore wind farms. Photo: courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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