Local partnerships for onshore wind: consultation response
Communities possess immense untapped potential to play a pivotal role in the development of onshore wind projects. That’s our key message in the Centre for Sustainable Energy’s response to the latest government consultation: local partnerships for onshore wind.
CSE’s response to the consultation
Read our full response to the local partnerships for onshore wind consultation here. And please feel free to use any of the information in your own responses to the consultation.
We first spoke about this in The Planner and you can read the commentary from Dan Stone, our planner for net zero, here.
Communities are active participants, not passive receivers
With support for renewable energy generation reaching unprecedented heights, many communities want to be active participants rather than passive recipients of developer-led consultations. However, the current government proposals seem to overlook this crucial aspect. This raises our concerns about missed opportunities for genuine partnerships.
The proposed measures outlined by the government focus on enhancing the consultation processes undertaken by commercial wind developers, rather than fostering true partnerships with communities.
These proposals, though a step in the right direction, continue to perceive communities as passive and reactive entities. The proposals represent an incremental improvement and we firmly believe there is much more that could be done, with a better approach.
It’s why we developed our Future Energy Landscapes methodology, which fosters engagement with communities from the bottom-up.
The vast potential of onshore wind
Across the UK, an abundance of untapped potential exists for commercial, shared ownership, and community-owned onshore wind schemes. Our response to the 2023 National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) consultation expressed disappointment over the persistent unofficial ban on onshore wind projects, which originated in 2015.
Despite minor enhancements in the flexibility granted to councils and communities to progress with onshore wind developments, these projects continue to face disproportionate obstacles in the planning process compared to other forms of energy generation.
Onshore wind stands as the most affordable means of energy generation currently available. Much more needs to be done to unlock this potential.
Unlocking the potential of communities
At the same time, it is vital to recognise the immense potential that communities hold when it comes to onshore wind projects. The current proposals from government fail to do this.
By creating an environment that values community input in our Future Energy Landscapes work, we found that people genuinely care about their local areas and want to be actively involved in any proposed changes.
They also understand the balance between preserving landscapes and generating renewable energy. Our consultation responses looks at the importance of communities benefiting financially from hosting projects, and we advocate for revisions to planning policies to accommodate this aspect.
We hope you find our response to the consultation helpful. Please use any information in your own responses, or reach out if you need more details.