Latest Public Sector News

20.09.12

Rewards considered for wind farm approval

Communities that have wind farms in their area could get benefits in return, the Government has suggested.

This could include discounts on electricity bills or grants to spend on facilities such as playgrounds. The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has launched a consultation into the rewards that could be offered for siting wind farms near communities.

DECC is also reviewing the cost of onshore wind to ensure the subsidies – which are due to be cut by 10% from next year – are set at the right level.

Energy secretary Ed Davey said: “Onshore wind has an important role to play in a diverse energy mix that is secure, low carbon and affordable.

“We know that two-thirds of people support the growth of onshore wind. But far too often, host communities have seen the wind farms but not the windfall.

“We are sensitive to the controversy around onshore wind and we want to ensure that people benefit from having wind farms sited near to them.”

Yet the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has warned communities should not be paid off for allowing wind farms to be built nearby.

Tom Leveridge, senior energy campaigner said: “We must make sure that this does not promote simplistic notions of ‘sharing benefits’ that amount to little more then paying off communities to secure planning permission.

“This would fundamentally undermine a core principle of the planning system – that planning permission should not be bought or sold – and put the countryside at greater risk from poorly sited wind developments.”

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