We need to remove the barriers the Government has put in place against onshore wind.
Since 2015, the Government has blocked new onshore wind projects by preventing them from accessing a route to market and imposing unique planning barriers to their construction in England.
I believe this effective ban on onshore wind, introduced with little effective consultation, parliamentary debate or legislation, is short-sighted, not evidence-based and has been a retrograde step in our efforts to tackle climate change. Furthermore, the chair of the Government’s independent climate adviser, the Committee on Climate Change, has highlighted that it is also increasing the cost of our energy.
The trade association RenewableUK has shown that new onshore wind installations fell by nearly 80% in 2018, to their lowest level since 2011. The Government’s own figures show a 95% decrease in applications for new onshore wind capacity since June 2015. At the same time, popular backing for onshore wind is at its highest level yet, with the Government’s most recent survey showing it has the support of 79% of the public.
Onshore wind offers one of the cheapest ways to generate renewable energy, with costs continuing to fall. It is a well-established technology that is relatively straight forward to install and has a small environmental impact compared to other forms of energy generation.
Doubling our onshore wind capacity to 30 gigawatts by 2030 would provide power for five million homes. It would also generate 60,000 new jobs and transform the UK into a global hub of wind power manufacturing. To continue to block its development is reckless. Instead we need to revive our onshore wind industry.