Wind turbines at the centre of environmental battles

Wind turbines at the centre of environmental battles

Keith Davidson, Head of Environment PSL at LexisNexis looks at the latest court decisions on wind turbine developments and questions why many “environmentalists” place more importance on landscape enjoyment than the urgent need for emissions reduction.

The need for clean energy

Onshore wind is the UK’s largest source of renewable energy generation. Wind farms help to reduce CO2 emissions, provide energy security and contribute to the local and national economy.

The Committee for Climate Change has warned that we need a “step change” in renewables deployment to meet the UK carbon budgets and climate targets.

To encourage the transition to clean(er) energy (renewables, nuclear and carbon capture and storage), the government has introduced a fast track planning process for major infrastructure projects and a new financial framework with contracts for difference to replace the renewables obligation.

Not in my back yard

Despite the clear environmental and economic benefits, wind farms are opposed by many environmentalist and local pressure groups.

  1. In September 2014, Powys County Council’s decision to grant planning permission for a 34m turbine was quashed by the High Court. Over 50 residents and the Campaign for the Protection Rural Wales complained that the turbine was “inappropriate for such an unspoilt location”.

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