The wind industry has been saved from “potentially disastrous” planning laws this week, claims the UK’s renewable trade body. An amendment to the Localism Act, which would have left wind farms planning applications open to a national referendum if a fraction of the local population objected, was taken out at the last minute.
The Act is a key Coalition policy touted as shifting the balance of power from Whitehall to communities. When the bill received royal assent on Tuesday, London Mayor Boris Johnson said he was “delighted that the stifling bureaucracy of the past is now behind us”.
But RenewableUK believes it could easily have had the opposite result if the amendment had been included.
Charles Anglin from RenUK said: “The Localism Act was rescued from being potentially disastrous for the wind industry. It could easily have been hijacked by nimbys. We’re satisfied the bill won’t make things significantly worse for the industry. The question now is how we can make it significantly better.”
He said the focus now for the wind industry was to approach local communities earlier and show them that planning isn’t just about the physical landscape but also about the economic opportunities.