Wind farm revolts blamed for dramatic fall in planning approvalsUnited Kingdom
Local revolts by British residents against wind farms are to blame for the number of planning approvals hitting record lows, an industry report has warned.
More than 230 campaign groups across the country are putting plans to generate more than a quarter of Britain’s electricity in jeopardy, it was claimed.
New figures show one in three wind farm applications were approved by councils amid heightened opposition from angry residents.
Approvals in England has fallen by 50 per cent half over the past year while the number of new wind farms coming “on-stream”, or becoming active, has dropped by almost a third.
The report, from RenewableUK, which represents the wind farm industry, blamed a groundswell of opposition in areas including Kent, Yorkshire and Cornwall and Scotland.
The report, to be published next week, casts doubt on the government’s ability to meet its ambition of generating a fifth of Britain’s energy from renewable sources by the end of the decade.
“The industry has significant concerns for both the rate and consistency of local decision-making on projects yet to come forward for determination,” the report concluded.
According to the report, seen by The Independent, it can take seven years to build an offshore wind farm and more than two years to obtain planning permission.
But changes to planning laws, due to be announced later this year, are expected to make it harder for wind farm to be built as local councils are given more power over decision making.
“The court of public opinion plays a big role here,” said Maurice Cann, head of planning at Hambleton District Council.
“I can see the situation getting worse. Some of these structures are 125m high and have a huge visual impact.
“It does not surprise me at all that so many applications are getting rejected.”
Michael Hird, from the Campaign against Wind farms, said his group’s campaign was working while environmentalists called for a compromise.
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