The government has changed its guidance on wind farms in England to make it easier for local communities to turn down their development.

A view of wind farm
Government changes guidance on wind farms

In a ministerial statement on 6 June, Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, said, Meeting our energy goals should not be used to justify the wrong development in the wrong location. In order to make it easier for communities to resist wind-farm developments which they feel are inappropriate, new planning policy guidance will state that:

* the need for renewable energy does not automatically override environmental protections and the planning concerns of local communities

* decisions should take into account the cumulative impact of wind turbines and properly reflect the increasing impact on (a) the landscape and (b) local amenity as the number of turbines in the area increases

* local topography should be a factor in assessing whether wind turbines have a damaging impact on the landscape (i.e. recognise that the impact on predominantly flat landscapes can be as great as or greater than as on hilly or mountainous ones)

* great care should be taken to ensure heritage assets are conserved in a manner appropriate to their significance, including the impact of proposals on views important to their setting.

* decisions should take into account the cumulative impact of wind turbines and properly reflect the increasing impact on (a) the landscape and (b) local amenity as the number of turbines in the area increases

* great care should be taken to ensure heritage assets are conserved in a manner appropriate to their significance, including the impact of proposals on views important to their setting.

It is expected that these changes will make the development of wind farms more difficult, although the financial compensation that can be offered will increase.

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