Onshore wind ban dropped in early move by new government

Onshore wind ban dropped in early move by new government

The UK’s longstanding ban on onshore wind has been scrapped by the new government as part of a move to target a significant boost in renewable energy generation.

The early removal of the de facto ban featured as part of Labour’s election manifesto, part of their pledge to double onshore wind energy by 2030, was introduced on 8 July with immediate effect and are set to be reflected in the upcoming revision to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

Introduced in 2015 by the then-Conservative government, the measures were designed to alleviate the perceived impact of wind turbine damage on rural communities but has been criticised by many over the past nine years for limiting the country’s ability to produce green energy.

Prior to the announcement, onshore wind was subject to two tests in the NPPF that said development would only be considered acceptable if:

  1. In areas either allocated in a development plan or through Local Development Orders, Neighbourhood Development Orders and Community Right to Build Orders. This sets a higher bar than is set for other forms of development.
  2. With the narrow exception of proposals brought forward by Neighbourhood Development Orders and Community Right to Build Orders, where the proposal has proved community support. In practice this has often been interpreted to mean that any opposition means the proposal cannot be considered acceptable.

With the removal of the policy tests, it means that onshore wind projects would be treated in the same way as other energy development proposals.

Fred Quartermain, Partner in the Thrings Planning and Environment team, said: “The UK has been significantly hindered in its capacity to produce renewable energy for a number of years due to problematic restrictions like this, so to see such a quick change in policy that helps the country in its fight for energy security is very welcome.

“It is also positive to see the new government getting on with delivering their manifesto pledges early on, signalling a degree of consistency that will give the markets – and in this case, the planning sector – confidence in forecasting based on their promises made during the campaign.”

Natalia Sokolov, Parter in the Thrings Clean Energy team, added: “Despite onshore wind projects now being considered the same from a planning perspective as any other energy project, there will still be a complicated process to ensuring their success and we would strongly advise landowners and developers to seek legal advice should they wish to take their plans forward.”

Thrings’ Planning and Environment and Clean Energy lawyers have extensive experience in navigating complex local and national planning policy legislation and has successfully supported the delivery of a range of commercial and residential projects. To find out more and for advice on your development proposals, please get in touch.


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