UK’s new Labour government lifts ‘absurd’ ban on onshore wind

Both energy experts and environmentalists were in support of the move, which will be confirmed when parliament resumes on July 18.

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SOURCEEcoWatch

The United Kingdom’s new Labour government has lifted the “de facto ban” on onshore wind projects in Britain.

Both energy experts and environmentalists were in support of the move, which will be confirmed when parliament resumes on July 18, reported The Guardian.

“Delivering our clean power mission will help boost Britain’s energy independence, save money on energy bills, support high-skilled jobs and tackle the climate crisis,” officials wrote in a policy statement. “We are therefore committed to doubling onshore wind energy by 2030. That means immediately removing the de facto ban on onshore wind in England, in place since 2015. We are revising planning policy to place onshore wind on the same footing as other energy development in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).”

The NPPF, which governs the construction of homes and infrastructure, originally contained two footnotes that caused the ban. The footnotes only applied to onshore wind and required proof that no local opposition existed, effectively making the building of turbines impossible.

The footnotes have been deleted in Labour’s new draft of the NPPF.

On Monday, newly appointed Chancellor Rachel Reeves said the “absurd” restrictions put in place by the conservative government — in power for the past 14 years — would end, Euronews reported.

Reeves added that Labour would discuss the prospect of wind farms being considered nationally significant infrastructure projects, meaning that energy secretary Ed Miliband would approve them rather than local councils.

Reeves said “trade-offs” would be necessary to allow onshore wind developments to move forward, but rejecting them could not be the default.

“The story of the last 14 years has been a refusal to confront the tough and the responsible decisions that are demanded,” Reeves said, as reported by Euronews. “This government will be different and there is no time to waste.”

A study by University of Exeter researchers and Friends of the Earth in April found that the use of not even three percent of England’s land for solar and onshore wind could produce 13 times the renewable energy that is currently being generated — enough to power two times the country’s households.

“By ending the onshore wind ban in England, Labour is making an important stride towards delivering on our climate goals while also paving the way for lower bills, as renewables produce some of the cheapest and cleanest energy available,” said Mike Childs, Friends of the Earth’s head of science, policy and research, as The Guardian reported.

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