The British Conservative government has eased planning rules and lifted restrictions that had effectively prohibited the construction of new onshore wind farms in England. The Independent reports: Rules introduced in 2015 by then-Prime Minister David Cameron, who also led a Conservative administration, allowed a single objection to a wind turbine application to block its development. The regulations led to a dramatic decline in the number of new turbines granted planning permission. Some Conservatives pressured the current government to overturn the rules. Lawmaker Alok Sharma, who was president of the 2021 U.N. climate change conference and led the lobbying campaign, called them “outdated” and “not a sensible way for a planning system to operate.”
Authorities said Tuesday that the eased restrictions mean that onshore wind projects supported by local residents will get approved more quickly. They said elected local officials will have the ability to make final decisions based on the prevailing view of their communities, not just a small number of objectors. Communities that back wind turbines in their areas will also benefit from cheaper electricity, officials said, adding that the way such energy discounts work would be considered later.