Onshore wind farms ban to be eased following backbench Tory pressure


Onshore wind farms ban to be eased following backbench Tory pressure

The government is expected to relax an effective ban on new onshore wind farm projects amid pressure from Conservative rebels.

The changes will likely mean new rules for winning planning permission, so instead of requiring complete agreement, projects will instead only have to demonstrate local support.

Sir Alok Sharma, president of the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow in 2021, has led Tory backbench pressure over the issue and submitted an amendment to the Energy Bill.

He said he wanted a change to the current rules that allow a single objection to block a new onshore development.

Sir Alok’s amendment has support from more than 20 backbench Conservatives, including ex-prime minister Liz Truss, former party chairman Sir Jake Berry, Wales Committee chairman Stephen Crabb and former levelling up secretary Sir Simon Clarke.

Bowing to pressure, the government is understood to be setting out the changes in a written ministerial statement today.

A government source said: “We are very clear that onshore wind developments should have the consent of, and benefit, local communities.

“However, we want to see the sector thrive and believe that this is an important step forward.”

Sir Alok said MPs who have signed his amendment to the Energy Bill want to see a “much more permissive planning regime” on onshore wind.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We want to see the lifting of the current planning restriction, which means that a single objection to an onshore wind development can block it.

“And of course, allied with this, we want to ensure that local communities who are willing to take onshore wind developments will receive direct community benefits.”


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