UK Government Eases Restrictions on Onshore Wind Farms, Paving the Way for Local Community Support and Cheaper Energy

by Anna

In a significant shift in policy, the UK government has decided to loosen restrictions on onshore wind farm development, effectively overturning a ban that has been in place since 2015. The change in law, which was implemented this month, marks a departure from the previous stringent regulations that allowed only a single objection to halt the construction of onshore wind farms.

These new measures aim to empower local communities that support onshore wind farms, offering them the opportunity to move forward with planned developments and benefit from more affordable energy bills.


Among the key provisions of the revised policy is the expansion of the criteria for identifying suitable locations for onshore wind farms. This expansion includes the active involvement of communities in the site selection process. Additionally, the government is streamlining the allocation of sites by introducing alternatives to the local plan process, ensuring that a broader cross-section of the community can have a say in the decision-making process. These changes are expected to open the door for more onshore wind projects to be realized in areas where they enjoy community support.


The authority to determine local policy regarding onshore wind will now rest with locally elected councillors. Plans for onshore wind farms can proceed if they can demonstrate strong local backing and address any planning concerns raised by the community.


The government is also taking steps to incentivize communities to support onshore wind projects, with proposals that promise cheaper energy for those who back such initiatives. Consultations on enhancing benefits and rewards for communities supporting onshore wind farms have been carried out, and further details will be outlined in the coming autumn.


Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities, Michael Gove, commented on the changes, saying, “To increase our energy security and develop a cleaner, greener economy, we are introducing new measures to allow local communities to back onshore wind power projects. This will only apply in areas where developments have community support, but these changes will help build on Britain’s enormous success as a global leader in offshore wind, helping us on our journey to Net Zero.”

These revisions to the National Planning Policy Framework build upon the substantial progress made in expanding renewable energy sources in the UK. Since 2010, the country has witnessed over £120 billion in investments, kickstarting industries like floating offshore wind and tidal power. These changes are anticipated to contribute further to the UK’s transition towards a sustainable and low-carbon energy future.

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