Labour lifts ban on onshore windfarms

The Labour Party has dropped the effective ban on onshore windfarms, the announcement confirmed by Chancellor Rachel Reeves.

Previously two footnotes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), the rules which govern the building of homes and infrastructure, required strong proof that there was no local opposition to building turbines, which meant getting them up and running was near-impossible.

Rachel Reeves, Chancellor, said:

“We are ending the absurd ban on new onshore wind in England.

“We must acknowledge that trade-offs always exist.

“Any development may have environmental consequences, place pressure on services and rouse voices of local opposition, but we will not succumb to a status quo which responds to the existence of trade-offs by always saying no.”

Labour added that it would explore whether to class onshore wind as a nationally significant infrastructure. If that move goes through large farms could get planning approval more quickly.

The party has committed to doubling onshore wind energy by 2030.

The rules which encouraged this Nimbyism were introduced by former Prime Minister David Cameron’s government in 2015.

Owing to these restrictions, Ukraine has been able to install 12 times more onshore wind energy capacity than England since the war broke out with Russia.

Ed Miliband, the newly appointed energy security and net zero secretary, said:

“This government was elected with a mandate to take immediate action to boost Britain’s energy independence.

“The onshore wind ban is a symbol of how bad decisions in the last 14 years have put up energy bills for families.

“Today, it ends.”



Mitchell Pollington, director, historic environment, at Lanpro, said:

“The lifting of the de facto ban on onshore windfarm developments in England, and the desire to bring these under the NSIP regime, is a hugely welcome sign of the new government’s aim to massively accelerate the country’s transition to renewable energy.

“It has been estimated that this could boost the economy by £45bn and create around 27,000 jobs- and archaeology and heritage will again play a central role in environmental decision-making to enable these new schemes.

“Since 2015, there has been an effective moratorium on the construction of new onshore windfarms, due to the introduction of footnotes to the NPPF, which required proof that there would be no local opposition of any type to such schemes – which, of course, there always will be at some level.

“Prior to this, I was proud to work on the heritage and archaeological elements of numerous wind farm applications throughout the noughties – in both England and Scotland – working with passionate environmental consultants and developers who rightly saw that onshore wind was a vital part of our need for mixed renewable energy provision.

“Archaeological assessment not only helps mitigate any impacts from wind farm developments, but also provides an opportunity for communities to gain a greater understanding of their surrounding historic landscapes, and the archaeological remains which lie within these.

“With appropriate initial assessment and survey, the layout of windfarms can easily be designed to avoid any significant impacts on archaeology, and rapid, non-intrusive archaeological survey methods, such as established geophysical survey techniques, and more recently adopted techniques such as multi-spectral imaging, can identify features without the need to necessarily dig up – and destroy – buried remains.

“The use of such methods will help speed up the delivery, and reduce the costs, of such projects and it’s important that archaeology is seen as a facilitator of these nationally vital developments, and not as an unnecessary delaying factor.

“Bringing onshore wind back into the energy mix in England, is therefore vital to support the country’s move towards clean energy, but also provides great opportunities to further our understanding of our shared archaeological resource.”

Charles Richardson, head of the landed estate practice and partner in the private client team at law firm Kingsley Napley, said:

“Today’s announcement from Rachel Reeves lifting the de-facto ban on onshore wind farms will be music-to-the-ears of many landowners.

“My clients tell me they want to invest in renewables projects to boost income streams from their land, to contribute to environmental targets, and to provide clean, cheaper and secure energy for local communities.

“However, they’ve been hampered thus far from doing so.

“Planning and grid connections have been major barriers which Labour is now promising to unlock.

“I am sure we will see many embracing this opportunity in the near future.

“However, landowners do need clarification on tax issues and will clearly need to consider any community opposition before they embark on big projects of this nature.”


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