The Government’s much-heralded new guidance on onshore wind farms could actually see more turbines built in rural England over the coming years, the Energy Secretary has revealed.
Speaking to the Yorkshire Post, Ed Davey said the new planning guidance issued by the Government on Thursday “absolutely does not give a veto or a block” to communities fighting proposed wind farms in their local areas.
The Liberal Democrat Cabinet Minister said the overall impact of the changes on the number of turbines being built “could go either way”, suggesting new cash incentives for communities and improved consultations may well smooth the way for extra development to take place.
His intervention follows two days of jubilation on the Tory right, which has seized upon the Government’s new planning guidance as a turning point in its battle against onshore wind farms.
Senior Conservative sources were briefing this week that the shake-up provided a “bomb-proof set of safeguards” for communities opposed to new wind farms.
But Mr Davey said the decision to maintain existing levels of public subsidy to the wind industry, while promising financial incentives and better consultation for people affected, could kick-start increased construction of wind farms across the countryside.
“I think it could go either way,” he said. “If you’re getting better engagement between developers and local communities – with more say for local communities, and there are greater community benefits; and the industry has a more stable financial framework – it’s possible to see that might actually mean wind farms go ahead with less controversy, with less confrontation.”
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