Anti-wind farm campaigners could cost England £1.3bn, according to trade body Renewable UK.
A new report produced for RenewableUK by consultancy GL Garrard Hassan puts the £1.3bn price tag on lost investment. The figures are based on onshore wind farm developments currently seeking planning consent in England and do not include investment that has been already delivered and is ongoing for local companies across England from wind farms that are operational.
The study is the first of its kind to seek to quantify the financial benefits to England’s regions of onshore wind farms and agreeing to their development.
The report has been released as RenewableUK publishes its annual State of the Industry report, which highlights a fall in wind farm developments being agreed at the planning stage by local authorities across the entire UK from over 50% in 2008-2009 to only one in three for 2009-2010.
RenewableUK chief executive Maria McCaffery said: “The UK wind energy industry is already bringing investment and jobs for local people and companies all across the country, and can deliver many more financial benefits in the years ahead.
“Aesthetic concerns may often be the grounds for refusal of wind farm developments at planning stage, but they can also be seen as selfish concerns when considered against the tangible benefits that wind energy can bring, not only for the benefit of the environment but just as importantly for local jobs and funds for investment, ongoing for the entire lifespan of a wind farm development.
“By halting wind farm developments, anti-wind farm campaigners are doing their local communities a disservice, and one that no-one can afford in these difficult economic times.”