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Locals Offered Power To Block Wind Farms

Sky News

New guidance will tell councils that the concerns of locals should take precedence over the need for renewable energy.

Residents will be able to stop construction of wind farms under tough new rules that could sound the death knell for onshore sites.

Under new guidelines, local people’s concerns should take precedence over the need for renewable energy, and councils should give more weight to the impact of turbines on the landscape and heritage.

The changes are part of a package of measures that also significantly increase the amount of money communities will receive for agreeing to host wind farms nearby, with householders set to get hundreds of pounds off energy bills.

Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary Ed Davey insisted that the Government remained committed to “appropriately sited onshore wind” as part of a diverse, low-carbon and secure energy mix.

But a Downing Street source said: “The Prime Minister feels that it is very important that local voters are taken into account when it comes to wind farms and that is why new legislation will be brought forward, so that if people don’t want wind farms in their local areas they will be able to stop them.”

Energy Minister Michael Fallon admitted the changes would make it “more difficult” for developers to get the go ahead.

“Developers are going to have to engage with the local communities and ensure that they do go ahead then there is a benefit, for example a big discount on your bill,” he told Sky News.

It is thought the changes to planning guidance could spell the end of new onshore wind, as it will make it much harder to build wind farms, and not many communities will be keen to take up the “sweetener” of payments.

Concerns have also been raised by the renewables industry that the much higher rate of payments would make some developments uneconomic and prevent them going ahead.

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