Thank you for all those who contacted me about onshore wind energy.
Onshore wind is the cheapest, cleanest source of energy we have. Yet, since 2015 the Government has effectively banned new developments in England through its National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). This is keeping bills high and damaging our energy security.
On 5 September, the Government said it was changing planning rules to enable the development of onshore wind projects in England. However, I believe the changes it announced were merely a weak half-measure and fall far short of properly lifting the onshore wind ban which is adding billions of pounds to the energy bills of UK households. Indeed, as RenewableUK has said, the changes still mean onshore wind faces a planning system that is stacked against it and treats it differently to every other energy source or infrastructure project. It continues to remain easier to build an incinerator or a landfill site than onshore wind.
It is for this reason that Opposition MPs supported New Clause 57 at the Energy Bill’s Report Stage. This would have ensured that onshore wind development proposals in England and Wales are treated the same as other local infrastructure projects. Unfortunately, the Government voted down this amendment. Other amendments on onshore wind also failed to make it into the Bill.
If we are serious about cutting bills, strengthening our security, creating good jobs, growing our economy and tackling the climate crisis, we need to end the ban on onshore wind. More widely, we need to double our onshore wind capacity as part of a plan to make Britain a clean energy superpower, with a zero-carbon electricity system by 2030. I will therefore continue to support efforts to press the Government on this issue.