After the recent judgment in the High Court that dismissed the move by Milton Keynes Council to impose a fixed separation distance between homes and turbines for a wind farm project, the power company involved, RenewableUK has responded.
RenewableUK has welcomed the decision backing its challenge to the Milton Keynes Council's Supplementary Planning Document that would have increased the separation distance between turbines and dwellings from the 350 metres already mentioned in local policy to over 1,200 metres in this particular case.
RenewableUK’s Deputy Chief Executive Maf Smith said:
“We welcome today’s decision as it provides the wind industry with the certainty it needs to get on with the job of generating more clean electricity for British homes.
"Many local councils are aware of the benefits of wind energy – onshore wind is a growth industry for the UK, bringing much needed jobs and investment. Every megawatt of wind energy we install generates Â£700,000 worth of value for the UK, of which Â£100,000 stays in the local area. In real terms this equates to contracts for local businesses and jobs for local people.
"Wind energy also offers us an escape route from costly imports of fossil fuels, by generating power from a home-grown resource which will never run out. This gives us a valuable prize: energy security. Onshore wind is the most cost-effective form of renewable energy we have, so we should be using it as widely as possible to protect all of us against soaring electricity bills.
“RenewableUK strongly believes it’s inappropriate for councils to impose arbitrary limits on where renewable energy projects should be located. Blanket bans and buffer zones are blunt instruments which take no account of local conditions. Each proposal should be examined on a case by case basis so that a well-balanced decision can be reached. As two-thirds of the British public consistently support wind energy, their views should be given due weight in the democratic process”.
Dr Wayne Cranstone, RWE npower renewables onshore development and projects director said:
“We are pleased the Judge has quashed the Milton Keynes SPD and its buffer zone policy.
“On the matter of buffer zone policies more generally, the Judge concluded that National Guidance “plainly indicates” that local authorities should not have a policy that planning permission for a wind turbine should be refused if a minimum separation distance is not met.”
Dr Cranstone continued:
“We have always sought to work in partnership with Milton Keynes Council and we will continue to do so. We welcome the clarity the Court has brought to this matter, and we believe this will help both the wind industry and local authorities in determining appropriate policies for the siting of commercial wind farms.
“We remain committed to investing in renewable and sustainable energy solutions for Milton Keynes and the UK.Â The investments we're making bring economic benefits to areas hosting wind farms, create thousands of jobs across the country and assist in reducing the impact of climate change and increasing the security of energy supply."Â
Image by Donald Bain [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons