Liz Truss and MPs Rally to Overturn Ban on Onshore Wind Farms in England
Former UK Prime Minister Liz Truss, along with 20 other MPs from the Conservative Party, is leading an effort to reverse the de facto ban on new onshore wind farms in England. The ban, introduced in 2015, has halted new projects, but an amendment to the energy bill proposed by former COP26 president Alok Sharma aims to remove the restrictive planning rules. This amendment seeks to encourage local investment and ensure local decisions on wind projects cannot be overturned on appeal. With the potential to reduce energy costs and improve security, this move could have a significant impact on the UK's renewable energy landscape.
Former UK Prime Minister Liz Truss and a group of 20 Conservative Party MPs are collaborating to challenge the de facto ban on new onshore wind farms in England. Alok Sharma, former COP26 president, has introduced an amendment to the UK government's energy bill with the aim of scrapping the existing rule that has practically halted new onshore wind projects since its inception in 2015.
The amendment proposed by Sharma seeks to eliminate the current planning restriction, where a single objection can block the development of an onshore wind project. Sharma's amendment also calls for guidance on how wind developers can provide "financial benefits" to local residents and aims to ensure that local decisions regarding onshore wind projects cannot be overturned on appeal.
The amendment has garnered support from co-signatories, including former levelling up minister Simon Clarke, former Conservative party chairman Sir Jake Berry, and former chief whip Wendy Morton.
Sharma tweeted that the government had committed to changing the planning rules by April 2023 to overturn the de facto ban on onshore wind, which has not yet been fulfilled. The proposed amendment aims to help the government deliver on its promise and unlock investment in cost-effective energy sources, ultimately lowering household bills and enhancing the UK's energy security.
Last year, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak raised hopes of easing the restrictions, but the proposed planning rule changes in March left the UK wind industry disappointed.
In contrast, opposition Labour leader Keir Starmer has outlined his plans to lift the ban immediately and require local authorities to proactively identify suitable areas for renewable power generation, including wind and solar.
According to the Energy and Climate Change Intelligence Unit, the ban on onshore wind cost UK billpayers £800 million ($1 billion) during the winter energy crisis caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.