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Jones Lang LaSalle responds to new proposal giving local residents greater powers over the siting and construction of wind farms
London, 6th June, 2013 – Under new government guidelines proposed today residents in England could be given greater power to block onshore wind farms in their local areas. Local authorities have been advised that resident concerns over the impact of wind turbines on their local environment should take priority over renewable energy targets.
These changes would see planning guidance in England adjust to ensure that the requirement for renewable power generation does not inevitably outweigh the planning issues of local communities.
David Bell, Director in Planning and Development at Jones Lang LaSalle, said: “The proposed changes place a greater emphasis on community engagement. Compulsory consultation will require effective engagement with local communities on the importance of on-shore wind and renewable energy in tackling climate change and making the transition to a low carbon economy. Currently the majority of wind farm developers undertake extensive pre-application dialogue with local residents and interest groups in order to provide a full understanding of the likely effects and benefits of wind turbines. Greater transparency and recognition of the benefits can only be a good thing."
As an incentive to ensure on shore wind farm developments do not fall off the radar completely, the government has offered communities a significant increase in financial incentives for agreeing to host a nearby wind farm.
Dane Wilkins, Head of Renewable Energy Capital at Jones Lang LaSalle, said: “The new reforms will see the payments offered by developers to communities increase from the current circa £1,000 per megawatt of installed capacity each year to circa £5,000 megawatts.
“Given current community benefit payments are comparatively low compared to other leading European countries with greater renewable energy deployment rates these proposals should be welcomed. Wind farm deployment on the continent particularly in Denmark and Germany has historically been far more successful than the UK, attributed in part to the involvement of the community in their development. These proposals will help communities to participate in the development process and will ensure a benchmark is visibly established in terms of community benefits. I believe this is commendable even if a small number of borderline projects are deemed unviable due to the additional cost.
“One point of concern however is that different communities have different capabilities and resources available to successfully negotiate with wind farm developers so it will be important for sufficient support networks to be put in place to ensure all communities are able to access accurate information and informed advice.”
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