Planning success rates for renewables project

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News article

National planning success rates for renewables projects drop

June 2014

wind farms
Planning approval rates for onshore wind farms have collapsed in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, according to new data from RenewableUK.
 
The drop has been most notable in Wales, where local consenting rates slumped from 64% of applications in 2013 to 29% this year. Wales has refused three wind farms at appeal so far in 2014 in contrast to a 98% success rate last year.
 
In England, 33% of projects have been approved locally compared with 58% in 2013 and consents awarded at appeal dipped from 69% to 47%. In Northern Ireland, rates fell from 92% to 86% for local projects and 82% to 33% at appeal. Scotland experienced mixed fortunes with increases in approvals at public inquiry (37% in 2013, 72% in 2014) and from ministers (43% in 2013 to 75% in 2014) but a dip in local authority consents (52% in 2013 to 30% in 2014).
 
Mark Newton Head of renewable energy at Fisher German said the reason for the decline in the success rate is due to local action groups being more organised and Heritage assets have become much more important following West Coast Energy losing their High Court case for wind turbines near the listed English Heritage property at Lyveden, New Bield, in Northamptonshire. 
 
The other big issue has been Eric Pickles who has called in 41 wind turbine planning applications that will have already received approval through the normal planning committee process, or at appeal, and solar planning applications were getting the same treatment. The reasons are purely political, as they are mostly in marginal Conservative seats, and he has been refusing most of them. Lark Energy recently challenged Eric Pickles in the High Court, and the judge has quashed Erick Pickles decision to refuse a solar park in Suffolk. 
 
Mark Newton finishes “This is excellent news for the whole renewables industry and it is a breath of fresh air. We have even seen him calling in single turbines down to 50kWs, and it is completely undemocratic that a single person can completely undermine the whole planning system. So hopefully his wings are now clipped and we will get more successful planning approvals. Fisher German have 10 specialist planners who have achieved a much higher planning success rate than the national average by ensuring all the many complicated issues are properly covered from the beginning”.
 
For further information, contact Mark Newton, Head of renewable energy on 07860 514474 email mark.newton@fishergerman.co.uk 
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