The Return of Onshore Wind

09 Jul 2024

Cornerstone Climate, Public Law and Judicial Review, Planning and Environment, Local Government

By Clare Parry

In her first speech since her appointment as Chancellor Rachel Reeves has paved the way for the return of onshore wind in England.

Since the introduction of what is now footnotes 57 and 58 of the NPPF it has been all but impossible to promote onshore wind through planning applications because it has been necessary to show (in the most recent form of paragraph 58) that the ‘planning impacts identified by the affected local community have been appropriately addressed and the proposal has community support’.

At the same time onshore wind was taken out of the Development Consent Order regime and the National Policy Statements particularly EN-3 do not cover onshore wind.

This has resulted in vanishingly few consents. According to Renewables UK, excluding replacements and repowering there have been just 32 onshore turbines consented in England since 2016, amounting to just 49.5MW of generation.

In the speech Rachel Reeves announced that she is ending the “absurd ban on new onshore wind in England”. This announcement has immediately been followed by a policy statement on onshore wind which confirms that the policy tests in footnotes 57 and 58 no longer apply.  The government will confirm the changes to Parliament on 18 July and the changes will be reflected in the forthcoming NPPF update.

Ms Reeves has also announced that she will consult on bringing onshore wind back into the DCO regime and that she plans to update relevant National Policy Statements within the year. They will also ‘shortly’ publish an update to the Community Benefits Protocol for Onshore Wind in England.

This announcement will inevitably lead to a surge in applications for onshore wind energy.

The planning team at Cornerstone Barristers have particular expertise dealing with all aspects of onshore wind energy and renewable and low carbon energy more widely.

Examples of inquiries, High Court challenges and DCO applications for wind farms that members have appeared at include:

Other renewable and low carbon projects include:

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