The UK will announce new planning regulations that will lift an effective ban on new onshore wind farms this week, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.
(Bloomberg) — The UK will announce new planning regulations that will lift an effective ban on new onshore wind farms this week, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.
A statement will be read to Parliament on Tuesday, setting out plans to ensure local support is sought before approving the development of onshore wind, said the person, who asked not to be identified as the plan isn’t yet public. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has spent nine months delaying a decision on whether to lift the de facto ban, after he caved to pressure by his own MPs late last year by launching a consultation on giving local communities power to consent to new projects.
In March, the government then launched a second consultation on the same topic, effectively delaying a decision for several more months. In that time, Sunak committed to granting 100 new licenses for oil and gas production in the North Sea due to energy security concerns, despite maintaining the effective onshore wind ban — one of the cheapest sources of power in the UK.
“We support the development of onshore wind where there is local support, recognising it as an efficient, low cost and a widely supported source of energy, while being a key part of helping reduce the UK’s reliance on importing expensive, foreign fossil fuels,” a government spokesperson said.
Britain’s Onshore Wind Boom Is Waiting for Sunak’s Green Light
The UK government’s aversion to onshore wind dates back to David Cameron’s stance in 2015, which Sunak promised to uphold when he ran for the Tory leadership last year. Sunak said at the time that he instead wanted to pursue offshore wind due to the “distress and disruption” onshore wind farms can cause to local residents.
The premier is having to balance retaining seats at the next general election, where local disputes over planning projects can prove controversial, with also showing he is pursuing economic growth and a viable plan to match US President Joe Biden’s multibillion-dollar green tax credit package that’s luring investment away from the UK.
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