- People to have much earlier and better involvement in turbine plans
- Five-fold increase in benefits to be paid by developers to local communities
- Planning guidance changed to make clear need for renewable energy does not automatically override concerns of local communities
Changes introduced by Conservatives today will give people a much greater say over wind farms in their communities, shifting the balance of power to local communities in deciding whether to agree to onshore wind proposals.
Households will also get a generous reduction in their energy bills, if they allow wind farms to be built in their local area. For some families, this could help them save up to £400 a year.
New planning guidance from the Department for Communities and Local Government will make clear that the need for renewable energy does not automatically override environmental protections and the planning concerns of local communities. It will give greater weight to landscape and visual impact concerns, especially for heritage sites.
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.
Commenting, local MP Stewart Jackson, who has strongly supported local people fighting Peterborough City Council’s unpopular Energy Park plans around Newborough which are due to be determined next week at the Planning Committee, said:
‘The Government is giving people a proper say. Local people should not feel bullied into accepting proposals they do not want.
It is something that Peterborough City Council could do with taking on board and acting on before the Morris Fen planning application near Newborough, is heard next week.
‘The new rules make clear the concerns of communities must be heard and give back to people willing to have wind farms in their local area, saving some families up to £400 a year on their energy bills.’