The government’s Localism Bill received its second reading in the House of Commons yesterday.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has said the bill will “give councils the power and the authority they need to make sensible decisions for the area” and provide people with “new rights, new powers, new opportunities to act on the issues that matter to them”.
But many in the renewables industry fear that the legislation will give local authorities and residents a blueprint to veto energy schemes such as those involving wind and solar power.
Yet today the bill found an ally in a wind power firm. Loughborough-based Evance Wind has been manufacturing and supplying small turbines for over 10 years.
Its chief executive Kevin Parslow said: “We have always felt that there needs to be greater clarity in issuing planning permissions for renewable energy technology and I, of course, welcome community involvement.
“However, there needs to be a distinction between industrial scale windenergy generation and independent small wind turbines.
He added: “The fact is, Britain needs to meet its renewable energy targets, otherwise it will simply run out of power. Wind power is leading the renewable energy agenda, and while industrial scale wind farms need to be clearly thought out and not just pop up across the countryside, independentefforts to contribute to renewable energyshould have a bit more room to breathe.
“Currently, those wanting to invest insmall wind turbines have to jumpthrough the same number of hoops as those looking toplace wind farms. There is a significant difference between several 100m tall wind turbines and a single domestic installation that is around 15m high.”
Mr Parslow said the Localism Bill was “a great way to get the community involvedin important planning decisions”.
“But with this greater power needs to comemore knowledge of the differences between large scale energy generation andmuch smaller scale, independent, investment into Britain’s renewable energy future.”