Following today’s announcement of changes to the National Planning Policy Framework relating to sub-50 megawatt wind farm development in England, Welsh Secretary David Jones has urged the Welsh Government to adopt comparable measures in Wales, so as to restore a more level planning playing field between the two countries.
In Wales, planning policy for sub-megawatt wind farms is dictated by the Welsh Government, whereas policy for larger developments is determined at a UK level.
The UK Government has announced today that communities will have earlier and better involvement in decisions concerning wind farm development proposals in their area. Much greater weight will be given to the strength of popular feeling over the proposals.
There will also be a five-fold increase in the level benefits developers will be expected to pay to communities.
Speaking after the announcement, Secretary of State for Wales, David Jones said:
“In Wales, there is an effective presumption in favour of wind farm developments under the Welsh Government’s planning policy document, TAN 8. Today’s announcement means an even greater divergence of policy between England and Wales.
“I would urge the Welsh Government urgently to review TAN 8. Given that, as from today, communities in England will be more empowered as to whether wind farm developments proceed in their areas, it is only right that comparable measures should be adopted in Wales.
“English communities affected by wind farm development will also now be receiving significantly more generous community benefit payments from developers than before. For a 50 megawatt wind farm, this could be as much as £100,000.
“I would also urge the Welsh wind power industry body, R-UK Cymru, to confirm that the community benefits on offer to Welsh residents will match those of residents in England, so as to restore equality of treatment on both sides of the border.”
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