UK surge in wind turbines

Last year the number of wind farms approved by local councils went up for the first time in five years

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The Independent Online

More than 1,200 new wind turbines will be dotted throughout Britain's countryside over the next year.

There are 763 onshore turbines due to be erected this year, adding to the 4,366 currently in operation, according to The Daily Telegraph.

A further 7,843 turbines have been approved but are yet to be built, taking the total slated for construction the UK over 10,000.

Wind power now provides 10 per cent of the country's electricity needs when the wind is blowing, or 8.2GW of power- enough to power 4.5 million homes for a year.

Last year, despite some deriding them as blights on the landscape, the number of wind farms approved by local councils went up for the first time in five years.

The surge has been attributed to a cut in subsidies due this year and an apparent relaxing of the planning rules.

Last year the approval rate for wind farms went up by 50 per cent, according to industry group Renewable UK, who said: “This welcome trend is coupled with continued strong support for wind energy, with two thirds of the population in favour of continued development of wind energy.

"What is more, this support rises in rural areas."

But Dr John Constable, director of Renewable Energy Foundation, a UK charity publishing data on the energy sector, said the increase owes more to the impending subsidy cut.

He said: “The UK’s wind power deployment on and offshore is way ahead of the learning curve, and needs to slow down to a rational pace to avoid insupportable burdens on the consumer and the risk of major malinvestment the unwinding of which will be painful and embarrassing.”

John Hayes, the Energy Minister, has said that the number of wind farms does not need to go beyond those planned.

The Government is committed to generating 13GW with onshore wind turbines by 2020.