UK renewable energy trade organisation RenewableUK told its members this week that anti- wind farm campaigners could cost the country £1.3bn.

A report, produced by Garrard Hassan and commissioned by RenewableUK says that England has the potential to see £1.3bn in investment that will directly create jobs and opportunities for local companies, funds for community activities and increased business rates for local authorities. However according to RenewableUK this is being threatened by the actions of anti-wind farm campaigners. The £1.3bn figure represents money that would flow directly to businesses and organisations at the local and regional level.

The report findings were broadcasted at RenewableUK’s conference in Glasgow this week. The investment opportunities in England are outlined in the report with figures are based on onshore wind farm developments seeking planning consent in England at the present time. The aim of the report was to quantify the financial benefits of wind energy to England’s regions.

The report highlights the capital expenditure opportunities for local companies engaged in construction, and the ongoing maintenance opportunities for local engineering companies during the lifespan of all wind farms. In addition, through plans that are under consideration by the government, renewable energy projects will be able to provide 100% of business rates payable to local authorities, and local community initiatives will be supported financially through funds agreed at part of the planning process.

Maria McCaffery MBE, Chief Executive of RenewableUK said:

The UK wind energy industry is already bringing investment and jobs for local people and companies all across the country, and can deliver many more financial benefits in the years ahead. Aesthetic concerns may often be the grounds for refusal of windfarm developments at planning stage, but they can also be seen as selfish concerns when considered against the tangible benefits that wind energy can bring, not only for the benefit of the environment but just as importantly for local jobs and funds for investment, ongoing for the entire lifespan of a wind farm development. By halting developments, anti-wind farm campaigners are doing their local communities a disservice, and one that no-one can afford in these difficult economic times“.