Planning reform needed for community wind funds, industry warns

Renewable UK has highlighted the challenge of benefitting communities without significant planning reform, expressing concerns about existing restrictions on onshore wind development in England

RenewableUK has raised concerns about the inability of communities in England to benefit from onshore wind funds without significant planning reform.

The trade association has urged the removal of barriers to onshore wind development to enable communities to benefit from proposed wind farm developments fully.

Commenting on the publication of the government’s response to its consultation “Developing local partnerships for onshore wind in England”, RenewableUK’s Executive Director of Policy Ana Musat said: “We’re pleased to be working with the government on updating the Community Benefits Protocol for onshore wind in England.

“The onshore wind industry wants to continue to engage with local communities in a way which is flexible and transparent, to build trust and ensure communities see tangible benefits and continue to be involved in decision making.

“It makes sense to set a standard level for community benefit funds across the UK of £5,000 per megawatt of capacity. Communities can expect consistency across the country. It also provides certainty for investors and developers about the expectations placed on them.

“It’s also important to highlight the fact that communities in England will not be able to benefit from these funds unless there is significant planning reform. The government’s changes to planning policy in September don’t remove the current de-facto ban on onshore wind.

“Communities in England can’t benefit from a wind farm proposal that’s never put to them because the planning system is too difficult for developers to navigate. We need to end the unique restrictions on onshore wind and treat it like any other energy infrastructure.”

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