It was reported this month that almost half of wind farms onshore were refused planning in the last year.
While some of the applications are likely to have been unsuitable and most likely skewed the figures, NIMBYism remains one of the biggest threats to the UK’s onshore wind turbine development. As R3 editor, Gill Anderson, pointed out in her June editorial: “We all now have to accept that we must change the way we source energy, so let’s use a little more vision, rather than the ‘not in my back yard’ mentality currently on display”.
Anderson’s thoughts were in part echoed by Shadow Energy Secretary, Meg Hillier, when delivering a keynote speech in Parliament last week. “Of course wind turbines will change the look of parts of our countryside. It is important that they go though the proper planning process,” Hillier acknowledged. “But the truth is that the biggest threat to our countryside is not the wind turbine, it is climate change.”
Whether these comments can swing public opinion in favour of wind turbines to the extent that local authorities feel obliged to be more forthcoming in their granting of approvals for new sites remains to be seen. However, we’ll be eagerly awaiting next year’s figures on turbine approvals.