Renew On Line (UK) 47

Extracts from NATTA's journal
, issue 147 Jan-Feb 2004

   Welcome   Archives   Bulletin         

1. More Offshore wind

2. UK still at bottom of the EU league

3.New Planning Rules for Renewables

4. Regional Renewables: NE plans

5.More PV Solar


7. Better Building Summit

8. Doubts over funding for offshore wind

9. Coal Mine Methane exempted from levy

10. Party Pieces

11. Clear Skies:  More local projects

12. Marine Renewables

13. World Developments

14. Nuclear News

3.New Planning Rules for Renewables

At long last, a new planning policy statement on renewables, known as PPS22, has been released by the government- as a consultative document.  The draft gives guidance on how local authorities and developers should approach new schemes.  It is fairly aggressive, arguing that long term environmental considerations should be taken into account by local planning authorities in relation to solar, biofuels and wind power. Planning Minister Yvette Cooper said: “In the past some local authorities have ruled out almost any development of this sort. We want to see a more considered approach, so the planning system is used positively rather than negatively.”

Although strict conditions will need to be satisfied before renewable energy developments can be permitted in areas of important landscape and environmental sensitivity, the draft notes that ‘Regional planning guidance and development plans should contain policies designed to promote and encourage, rather than restrict, the development of renewable energy resources’

It adds that ‘Planning policies that rule out or place constraints on the development of all, or specific types of, renewable energy technologies should not be included in regional planning guidance or development plans without sufficient reasoned justification. The Government may intervene in the plan making process where it considers that the constraints being proposed by local authorities are too great or have been poorly justified’. 

It goes on ‘Regional planning bodies and local planning authorities should not make assumptions about the technical feasibility of renewable energy projects (e.g. identifying generalised locations for development based on mean wind speeds). Technological change can mean that sites currently excluded as locations for particular types of renewable energy development may in future be suitable’.

It also says that ‘Local planning authorities, regional stakeholders and Local Strategic Partnerships should foster community involvement in renewable energy projects and seek to promote knowledge of and greater acceptance by the public of prospective renewable energy developments that are appropriately located. Developers of renewable energy projects should engage in active consultation and discussion with local communities at an early stage in the planning process.’

The full text is at

The consultation period is until the end of January.  It will be interesting to see what the response will be from conservation and preservation a groups.  For example, prior to the publication of the draft Guidelines, the Council for the Protection of Rural England fired off a warning shot, arguing that any relaxation of planning guidelines for onshore wind farms could “devastate” the landscape. “Truly sustainable solutions should mean the public don’t have to choose between protecting the landscape they cherish and saving the planet on which they depend.”

Jill Hatcher, the CPRE’s senior natural resources campaigner, told the Guardian that the increasing number of wind projects “threatens to devastate the beauty, tranquillity  and diversity of the English countryside ... We cannot build our way out of climate change with wind turbines”. CPRE fears that growing problems with financing offshore wind developments (see BWEA’s comments later) will lead to a concentration on onshore wind developments. Instead, the CPRE wants the government to place more emphasis on reducing energy needs, and, possibly, on other green energy sources.

Twine blocked: Adam Twine’s bid to install a 5x 1.3MW  community wind farm at Westmill in Oxfordshire (see Renew 144) was turned down by the local Council by a majority of one, despite getting  support from the local planning officer. See the ‘Forum’ section in Renew 147

Public likes Renewables...

A new UK-wide public opinion survey highlighted unprecedented levels of public support for renewable energy. It found that 90% of the British public think that using renewable energy is a ‘good idea’, with two thirds favouring renewable energy sources over fossil fuels. ‘Attitudes and Knowledge of Renewable Energy amongst the General Public’ was prepared for the Central Office of Information on behalf of the DTI; Scottish Executive; National Assembly for Wales; Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (Northern Ireland).

..whatever they are

However, the level of general awareness of renewables is still very low. The survey found that 17% of those asked thought renewable energy involved “recycling”, while another 17% thought it was “energy you can use again”. And only 19% could spontaneously name at least one type of renewable energy, with people over 65 or people between 16 and 24 being less likely than average to name a form of renewable energy unprompted.

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