Our new report highlights the dramatic proliferation of onshore wind turbines. In many cases these are damaging valued landscapes and intruding into some of the most tranquil areas of England. We must find a way of reconciling climate change mitigation and landscape protection – otherwise we will sacrifice the beauty and tranquillity of much-loved landscapes.
Onshore wind mapping shows exponential growth in wind turbine planning applications, leaving local communities increasingly powerless in the face of speculative applications from big, well-funded developers.
We are calling for a locally accountable and strategically planned approach to onshore wind development. Government must:
- provide more clarity about the total number of onshore wind turbines to be built and where these might be located;
- develop a strategic plan–led approach which recognises landscape capacity, including the cumulative impacts of onshore wind turbines;
- ensure local planning authorities seek to protect landscape character through their local plans and in planning decisions;
- instruct the Planning Inspectorate to give significant weight when making decisions on development proposals to any local plans which have attempted to identify appropriate and inappropriate areas for onshore wind development; and
- provide national obligations for the onshore wind industry to take legal and financial responsibility for decommissioning onshore wind turbines; restoring the landscape once they stop working or when they reach the end of their useful life.
Map: Onshore wind sites in protected areas
Map: Onshore wind sites in tranquil areas