A ray of hope has been given to Selby communities blighted by onshore wind farm applications as the Government announces changes to its planning policy.
The new Government guidance aims to give a greater say to local communities over the siting of wind farms.
Speaking in the House of Commons chamber, Conservative Selby and Ainsty MP Nigel Adams welcomed a shift in the balance of power to local communities in deciding whether or not to agree to onshore wind proposals.
He said: “I have been lobbying the Prime Minister for some time now for these common sense changes and I am delighted that he and his ministers have listened.”
The new planning guidance from the Department for Communities and Local Government will aim to make clear that the need for renewable energy does not automatically override environmental protections and the planning concerns of local communities. It will also give greater weight to landscape and visual impact concerns, especially for heritage sites.
Mr Adams added: “Local people and Selby District Council should not feel bullied into accepting proposals they do not want.
“(In the past) too many wind farm decisions were being decided by distant planning inspectors on appeal, sidelining local people and local councils. This new guidance should eradicate this.”
The law will be changed to make consultation with local communities compulsory for the more significant onshore wind projects, before planning permission is applied for. This will guarantee that local people can have their say at an earlier stage in more cases.
Where local councils have identified areas suitable for wind farm projects they will not be obliged to give planning permission if they think the impact on the local area will be unacceptable.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding