UK - Welcome first step in resolving planning delays

BWEA welcomes launch of consultation on planning inquiries

Today’s launch of a consultation on new rules for planning inquiries for large-scale electricity projects has been warmly welcomed by the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA).

The rapidly growing onshore wind industry will be the single greatest contributor to Government’s targets for renewables by 2010, but many thousands of megawatts of potential new wind capacity are being unduly delayed in the planning system - over 5% of UK electricity supplies are currently awaiting planning decisions from this one technology alone.

Commenting on today’s news, BWEA’s Director of Operations Chris Tomlinson said: “This is a very welcome first step in what has become an issue of increasing concern for the sector. While we are pleased to see this progress on the inquiries process, this does need to be matched by complementary measures to speed up decision making at both local and section 36 level.”

2006 has been another record breaking year for the onshore wind sector, but this rapid progress – vital in delivering on Government’s targets for renewables – could grind to a halt if a consistent level of planning decisions cannot be maintained at the local level. Targets designed to meet 10% of our electricity from renewable energy sources must be accompanied by targets for timely decision-making: one is dependent on the other.”

The onshore wind industry has proved it can deliver on a large scale but decisions must be made by December 2007 - at the latest - in order to build projects in time to meet the 10% target by 2010. The UK Government needs to lead by example, demonstrating its desire and commitment to meet its renewable energy target through encouraging prompt action in decision-making. In turn, this will allow the ground breaking onshore wind industry to signal the UK as a buoyant and sustainable renewable energy market, building investor confidence for a long-term renewables future.
British Wind Energy Association
Edited by Trevor Sievert, Online Editorial Journalist

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