RSS FeedRSS Feed

Communities to have a greater say and increased benefits from wind farms6th June 2013

Communities will have a greater say over the siting of onshore wind farms, and reap increased benefits from hosting developments that do proceed, as a result of changes announced by the Departments of Energy & Climate Change and Communities & Local Government today.

The package of measures will include a five-fold increase in the value of community benefits paid for by developers, and proposals that will require communities to be consulted earlier in the application process.

Current planning decisions on onshore wind are not always reflecting a locally-led planning system. New planning guidance supporting the planning framework from DCLG will make clear that the need for renewable energy does not automatically override environmental protections and the planning concerns of local communities. It will give greater weight to landscape and visual impact concerns.

Secretary of State Edward Davey said: “It is important that onshore wind is developed in a way that is truly sustainable – economically, environmentally and socially, and today’s announcement will ensure that communities see the windfall from hosting developments near to them, not just the wind farm”.

“We remain committed to the deployment of appropriately sited onshore wind, as a key part of a diverse, low-carbon and secure energy mix and committed to an evidence-based approach to supporting low carbon power.

“This is an important sector that is driving economic growth, supporting thousands of new jobs and providing a significant share of our electricity and I’m determined that local communities should share in these benefits.

As part of the measures, the Government will make pre-application consultation with local communities compulsory for the more significant onshore wind applications (this is already the case for national infrastructure applications). This will ensure that community engagement takes place at an earlier stage in more cases and may assist in improving the quality of proposed onshore wind development.
Ministers will be writing to the Planning Inspectorate and councils immediately to flag up that new guidance will become available shortly.

Best practice guidance from DECC to onshore wind developers will lay down the higher standards expected in relation to their engagement with communities, and a new register will monitor best-practice.

Government will also assist local people to gain the skills they need to enable them to engage more confidently with developers.

Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, said: “We want to give local communities a greater say on planning, to give greater weight to the protection of landscape, heritage and local amenity”. Government will deliver these changes in collaboration with industry and communities over the next 12 months.

The Government will be expecting the industry to revise its Community Benefit Protocol by the end of the year, to include an increase in the recommended community benefit package in England from £1,000/MW of installed capacity per year, to £5,000/MW/year for the lifetime of the windfarm.

Communities agreeing a medium-sized 20MW wind farm could therefore receive a package of benefits worth £100,000 per year, or up to £400 a year off each household’s annual bill.

Communities and developers work together to decide how the money should be used – for example, to provide households with money off their energy bills, to pay for energy efficiency initiatives, establish local training projects or fund other community initiatives.

At a scheme run by RES at their Meikle Carewe windfarm near Aberdeen, local residents will receive £122 off their annual electricity bills.

A new Community Energy Strategy, published this autumn, will set out how Government can encourage community ownership and investment in wind projects. A Call for Evidence on this strategy has been published by DECC today.

As well as this, a joint DECC/ Defra Rural Community Energy Fund will provide £15 million in loans and grants to rural communities. Based on the latest costs evidence, financial support for onshore wind – which was cut by 10% from April 2013 – will be held at the same rate, in line with the stable framework for investment in UK onshore wind.

On Thursday, Eric Pickles will announce that new DCLG planning practice guidance will become available on onshore wind to ensure more local decision-making and greater consideration for local environmental issues like landscape, heritage and local amenity. There will also be greater community consultation ahead of planning applications being submitted.

Energy Minister, Michael Fallon said: “Today, we are putting local people at the heart of decision making on onshore wind.

“We are changing the balance to ensure that they are consulted earlier and have more say against poorly sited or inadequately justified turbines.

“When new turbines are agreed, we will ensure that they are developed in a way that benefits the local community, such as through cheaper energy bills”.

Recent Headlines

Click here for more news stories...

Commercial Property Events

Have you any commercial property events you'd like to tell us about? It could be networking, exhibitions, seminars, industry lunches or sporting fixtures. We will list them for free. Just email with the following details: Event name, date, time, venue, cost, booking info and a brief description of the event.

Commercial Property Jobs

To list your property job vacancies on Property News. Email:

Sign up to our free e-alerts for all your property news and views.
Follow Property News on Facebook Follow Property News on Twitter Follow Property News on Google+ Follow Property News on Linkedin Property News RSS Feed