Labour Government Lifts Ban on New Onshore Windfarms

Labour Lifts Windfarm Ban

The Labour government has officially lifted the de facto ban on new onshore windfarms, a move welcomed by environmentalists and energy experts. The ban, which was rooted in two restrictive footnotes in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), made it nearly impossible to construct new turbines due to the requirement for absolute local approval. These footnotes have now been removed entirely in Labour’s new draft NPPF, placing onshore wind projects on an equal footing with other infrastructure projects. This change is effective immediately and will be confirmed in parliament on July 18.

In addition, Labour announced a consultation to consider designating large windfarms as nationally significant infrastructure projects. This would allow the energy secretary, Ed Miliband, to sign off on projects, bypassing local council approval. Chancellor Rachel Reeves criticized the previous restrictions as “absurd” and emphasized that decisions on windfarms should be made at the national level.

A policy statement from Labour highlighted the benefits of this shift: “Delivering our clean power mission will help boost Britain’s energy independence, save money on energy bills, support high-skilled jobs, and tackle the climate crisis. We are therefore committed to doubling onshore wind energy by 2030.”

The lifting of the ban fulfills a promise made in Labour’s election manifesto. The initial ban, introduced by David Cameron in 2015, allowed a single planning objection to halt a wind project. Despite previous announcements to lift the ban, restrictive footnotes remained, hindering new developments.

Environmental groups and campaigners have praised Labour’s swift action. Mike Childs, head of science, policy, and research at Friends of the Earth, stated: “By ending the onshore wind ban in England, Labour is making an important stride towards delivering on our climate goals while also paving the way for lower bills.”

Sam Richards, CEO of Britain Remade, added: “Lifting the ban on new onshore windfarms in England is something Britain Remade has been campaigning for since we launched. I am delighted Rachel Reeves has dropped the ban so soon after the election.”

Dr. Doug Parr, Greenpeace’s chief scientist, noted, “As the recent gas price crisis shows, this ban was self-defeating for energy security, costly, and lost opportunities to cut emissions. The end of the ban is well overdue.”

With this decisive action, the Labour government is taking significant steps towards a sustainable and energy-independent future for the UK.