Labour lifts ban on onshore windfarms

In a move praised by energy experts and environmentalists the newly elected Labour Government has removed the de facto ban on onshore windfarms in England and has committed to doubling Britain’s current onshore wind capacity by 2030.

The previous ban was brought about in 2015 through two footnotes in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). The footnotes applied only to onshore wind and required these developments to provide strong evidence that there was zero local opposition, which is rarely the case with any building proposal. As such, since 2015 onshore wind has stagnated in England, with projects consisting of one or two turbines on private property. The new NPPF draft from Labour has removed these footnotes, with windfarms being given the same restrictions as all other types of infrastructure projects.

Currently, the UK has 15GW of installed onshore wind capacity, more than half of which is in Scotland. The Labour Government has pledged to double this by 2030, keeping with the Climate Change Committee’s advice that the UK needs to install 35GW of onshore wind by 2035 to move towards net zero. Renewable developers have already identified potential sites for full-scale wind farms in England, and hope to kickstart the development as quickly as possible, given that onshore windfarms can take many years to finalise.

The final position of Government will be confirmed on the 18th of July after the House of Commons has resumed sitting.