The UK now has 1GW of offshore wind capacity, capable of powering 700,000 homes
Wind industry disputes 'quick' UK planning process claim
22nd April 2010
European report ranks UK application process for wind farms as amongst quickest, ahead of Spain and Portugal
It takes nearly two and a half years to get planning consent for an onshore wind farm in the UK - a year less than the European average - according to a report released by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).
At 26 months, the UK application process for wind farms is one of the quickest in Europe, taking half the time of Spain, Greece and Portugal.
But the trade association for the UK's renewable sector said the figures
were misleading because they didn't show the actual number of applications being approved.
'These sort of statistics don't show us the refusal ratio which is 75 per
cent in the UK,' said a spokesperson for wind industry body, Renewable UK. 'Spain, which according to this league table is amongst the slowest in Europe has 5 times more onshore wind capacity than the UK.'
Stuck in system
Renewable UK also pointed to a continuing disparity between the application times for wind farms and other large infrastructure projects in the UK.
'Around 75 per cent of large projects, such as supermarkets, and housing estates, get decided within the 16 week guideline period, compared to 7 per cent of wind farm projects.
'There are currently 10 gigawatts (GW) of wind energy stuck in the planning system, that's £15 billion worth of investment,' the spokesperson added.
A leading wind farm developer said the planning system was ‘holding back’ growth in the UK wind energy sector and warned that the figure of 26 months may be skewed by the number of quick refusals.
‘An analysis of five of our projects that have received consent gives an average time in planning of 41 months,’ said Rachel Ruffle of RES.
As well as application times, the study investigated the number of
authorities with which wind farm developers needed to liaise during the planning process. In the UK, developers liaised with 15 authorities, in contrast to five in Denmark and 41 in Greece.
In light of the report, the EWEA has called on member states to streamline their consent procedures if they are to reach 20 per cent renewables in overall EU energy consumption by 2020.
'There are a number of actions all member states could take: creating a one-stop-shop approach to contacting different authorities, writing clear
guidelines for developers, and introducing better and streamlined planning procedures,' said Justin Wilkes, EWEA Policy Director.
According to the study, the planning application time for offshore wind farms were half those of onshore winds farms.
This is borne out by today's announcement that the UK offshore wind industry has already reached 1GW of capacity, powering 700,000 homes.
New wind power tops all other sources in 2009
Wind and solar technology made up over half of Europe’s new electricity generating capacity in 2009, as the number of new coal and nuclear facilities fell
Wind turbines have no impact on house prices
Ten-year survey of house sales in US finds wind turbines have no negative affect on market price despite public fears
The future of energy is renewable
The recent U-turn by of some of the UK's leading environmentalists - and one-time nuclear energy opponents - on the issue of nuclear energy, has caused vigourous debate in the media. Their reasoning is that we simply don't have the capacity to produce enough renewable energy to meet our needs. But as this comprehensive Ecologist report from 2007 shows the UK is really a renewable energy powerhouse.
Election 2010: a manifesto checklist for the environment
How do the Liberal Democrats, Conservatives, Labour and the Green Party measure up on their environmental manifesto pledges? Here's the definitive list...
Using this website means you agree to us using simple cookies.