Conservative MP Simon Clarke has tabled an amendment to the Levelling Up and Regeneration bill to relax prohibitive rules on UK onshore wind development.
The amendment has now been backed by former premiers, Liz Truss – prime minister for just 50 days – and Boris Johnson.
Unlike other energy sources in England, onshore wind projects are decided by local authorities. If one person objects to a project, it can be blocked. Local permitting authorities are also supposed to suggest suitable areas for onshore wind development, but only a small portion have done so, according to industry body RenewableUK. Permitting rules drawn up by devolved governments in Scotland and Wales are friendlier to onshore wind.
If the newly proposed legislation comes into force, the UK’s planning laws will be revised “to ensure that guidance permits local planning authorities to grant onshore wind applications” for both new sites and repowering existing installations in England.
Clarke called the legislation “a pro growth, pro green policy at a time when we need both”.
The UK government has previously pledged to reform permitting to enable easier development of onshore wind when it was led by Truss. After being ousted by current PM Rishi Sunak, however, the government’s position on onshore wind has been unclear.