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Next government urged to cut offshore wind planning delays

A report by the Offshore Wind Industry Council calls for coordinated government action to address legislative and policy barriers hindering timely consent for offshore wind projects in the UK

The next government needs to step in to fix delays in approving offshore wind projects across the UK.

The Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC) released a report today, authored by Aeos and Deloitte, highlighting persistent challenges in the UK’s offshore wind project consenting process.

Consultancy findings reveal that recent planning reforms have only marginally reduced consent times, necessitating more strategic interventions to achieve substantial improvements.

The report emphasises that simply changing laws will not be enough – coordinated efforts led by the Cabinet Office and Number 10 Policy Unit across government departments and devolved administrations are essential for success.

Titled “Policy and Legislative Barriers to Consenting Offshore Wind,” the report identifies four critical areas -marine spatial planning, seabed leasing, electricity grid planning, and financial support mechanisms – that need alignment to streamline offshore wind development.

Proposed measures include defining a long-term energy mix, developing a National Grid spatial plan aligned with future electricity generation needs, ensuring robust marine spatial planning for seabed leasing and aligning financial mechanisms with project pipelines.

RenewableUK’s Executive Director of Policy Ana Musat said: “There is a strong cross-party consensus on the need to ramp up offshore wind development, so whoever wins the next election is going to have to focus on improving the planning system around it.

“That direction must come from the Cabinet Office and the Number 10 Policy Unit, bringing together all the relevant departments, stakeholders and devolved governments with industry.

“If we get the framework right early on, we can ensure there’s consistent co-ordination to deliver the projects we need to strengthen our energy security and provide cheap power for consumers.”

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