Half of planned wind farms blown away by force of local protests
Monday 11 July 2011
Almost half of the wind farms planned for the UK countryside are rejected before they can get off the drawing board, new figures show.
The failure of developers to win support for wind projects is blamed on a hardening of attitudes within local authorities towards them, and the increasing influence of "nimbies" and anti-wind campaigners.
Figures obtained from the Department of Energy and Climate Change under freedom of information legislation reveal that in just five years the rejection rate for wind farm planning applications has risen from 29 per cent in 2005 to 48 per cent in 2010 in England and Wales. For other major developments, such as roads and supermarkets, 70 per cent are approved.
Developers are increasingly frustrated at what they see as local issues being given priority over national needs and are worried that the Localism Bill championed by Eric Pickles, the Local Government and Communities Secretary, will worsen the situation by handing communities greater rights to reject development schemes.
Jacqueline Harris, of the legal firm McGrigors, which obtained the latest figures, said there were growing concerns that developers were being denied a fair hearing, with issues such as the visual impact of wind turbines being given special precedence even when only a few houses are in sight of them. "There is little willingness to consider the benefits of renewable energy generation in context – the national interest is being overridden by local concerns," she said.
Nick Medic, of RenewableUK, the industry's trade association, said the figures raised important questions about how the Government's green growth agenda could be achieved. He added: "We often find there is a vociferous minority driving the planning process. That can't be right."
High refusal rates have raised concerns about the UK's ability to meet its 2020 renewable energy and greenhouse gas targets, which require a third of electricity to be from renewable sources.
A study last year estimated that nimby ("not in my back yard") and anti-wind campaigners will cost local communities £1.3bn in lost investment.
The rise in planning rejections comes despite a government survey showing that from 2006 to 2009 the proportion of people saying they would be unhappy living within three miles of a wind farm had fallen from 24 to 21 per cent.
Greg Clark, the Minister for Decentralisation, said: "We're putting reforms in place that will deliver an efficient planning system that still supports sustainable growth and green energy developments, but rightly gives communities a say in the planning of their local area."
* A plan by RWE npower Renewables to build 18 125-metre-high turbines at Horkstow, North Lincolnshire, was thrown out in December after a fierce local campaign. Planning officers had recommended approval of the scheme. Campaigners declared their victory "a good day for the rural community". A revised plan has now been submitted.
* Community Windpower wanted 20 126-metre-tall turbines near Camelford, North Cornwall, but the plan was rejected in July 2010 after campaigners raised concerns about the effect on birds and described it as a desecration of the landscape. A revised application has now been submitted.
Dolphins ‘deliberately get high’ on puffer fish nerve toxins by carefully chewing and passing them around
How lobsters have pinched the hearts of British men
Human waste left by climbers on Mount Everest is causing pollution and could spread diseases
This is what the photographer has to say about the picture of a weasel riding a woodpecker
Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past
- 1 Bill Clinton portrait features Monica Lewinsky reference, artist admits
- 2 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 3 Pornhub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 Average penis size revealed: Scientists attempt to find what is 'normal' to reassure concerned men
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Infrastructure Architect is ...
£18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Production Coordinator is required to ...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opening has arisen ...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...