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United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Reform of policies urgently called for

The Council for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE), with 45,000 members, has lent its voice to the growing demand in the UK for a re-think of government policy on renewable energy.

"Government policies for renewable energy risk running out of steam unless action is taken to reform the planning and economic framework for the industry," said the CPRE's energy campaigner, Lilli Matson, at an international conference held last month in London by the Solar Energy Society. It was entitled Renewable Energy: What Can it Do for the Environment?

Pointing to the mixed reception which the British public has given many renewables projects -- and the fact that a large number have failed to secure financing -- Matson said the government should revise its planning policies and review the economic framework created by the Non Fossil Fuel Obligation (NFFO) legislation.

Planning needs to be made more sensitive to environmental concerns, she said, and NFFO should be made more favourable to a diverse range of projects in less environmentally sensitive locations. As it is, NFFO forces developers to use the very windiest sites, often in upland regions of open countryside which CPRE wishes to protect. Wind projects have sometimes attracted public opposition due to the selection of environmentally sensitive locations, said Matson.

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