The new Labour government has announced plans to reverse the ban on onshore wind projects in the UK.

In her first key speech as the UK’s new Chancellor, Rachel Reeves stressed the need for immediate action to drive economic growth and rebuild Britain, along with the UK government’s plan to put an end to the de facto ban on onshore wind.

The shift in policy comes as part of a broader strategy to enhance energy independence, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and foster local community engagement in renewable energy initiatives.

“As of today, we are ending the absurd ban on new onshore wind in England. We will also go further and consult on bringing onshore wind back into the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects regime, meaning decisions on large developments will be taken nationally not locally.

“We will give priority to energy projects in the system to ensure they make swift progress… and we will build on the spatial plan for Energy by expanding this to other infrastructure sectors.”

The updated National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) simplifies planning rules for onshore wind projects, removing specific hurdles that previously faced these developments. As a result, onshore wind applications will no longer be subject to unique planning tests, levelling the playing field for onshore wind alongside other forms of energy development.

The government plans to present these amendments to Parliament on 18th July, coinciding with the State Opening, and intends to further bolster support for renewable energy through forthcoming updates to the NPPF and consultation on integrating large onshore wind projects into the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project regime.

In response to the Chancellor’s speech, Energy UK’s Chief Executive Emma Pinchbeck said: “It’s excellent to see the new government prioritise planning reforms as a key enabler for economic growth and enhancing our energy security.”

“Analysis shows that the quicker we build clean energy infrastructure in the UK, the more private sector investment we can unlock, freeing up the public purse, with huge benefits to the economy.”

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Green campaigners and the energy sector have welcomed the government’s decision, citing the potential for onshore wind to provide electricity at very low cost, strengthen energy security, and tackle climate change. Public support for onshore wind remains high throughout the UK, with official polling indicating that 78% of the population favors new wind farms.

The lifting of the onshore wind ban is expected to have a positive impact on energy bills and the nation’s net zero goals. Studies suggest that using less than 3% of England’s land for onshore wind and solar could produce enough energy to power every English household more than twice over. This policy change represents a wind of change for the UK, signalling a commitment to a sustainable and secure energy future.

WATCH: Rachel Reeves delivers her first speech as the UK’s new Chancellor


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