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Case update 25 January 2024

Why do the Tories hate onshore wind power?

CloudVisual / Shutterstock

The Government has made it harder to generate power from wind than from incinerators. We’re taking legal action to help spark a revolution in renewable power.

Last week, the Government’s revised policy on energy infrastructure came into force. But there’s one gaping hole: onshore wind power is still excluded from the list of infrastructure projects with national significance.

Along with solar power, onshore wind is one of the cheapest ways to generate electricity. But since David Cameron changed planning rules in 2015, it has faced higher barriers than any other infrastructure projects – even waste incinerators.

In 2021, we forced Ministers to review their energy plans, and two years later the Government claimed that it had lifted the de facto ban on onshore wind projects. But precisely zero projects to generate power with onshore wind turbines were submitted between this announcement and December 2023, leading the boss of Scottish Power to brand England a “godforsaken” country for onshore wind.

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The National Infrastructure Commission recommended last year that “onshore wind should be included in the revised energy National Policy Statement and brought back within the scope of the Planning Act 2008”, so that it could be fast-tracked through the planning process. But the Government has left it out without giving any reasons.

Good Law Project is taking legal action to force Ministers to explain why they’ve excluded onshore wind from the list of infrastructure projects that are nationally significant and to put onshore wind back into the Government’s renewable energy policy. Ruling out one of the cheapest ways of generating electricity from our energy mix makes it all the harder to reach net zero and all the easier to believe the Tories just don’t care.

According to Good Law Project’s Legal Director, Emma Dearnaley, the Government has been “stubbornly refusing” to back onshore wind.

“Instead,” Dearnaley said, “in the middle of a climate crisis, Ministers are focusing their efforts on keeping the fossil fuel industry thriving for decades to come.”

We can’t fight the climate crisis with one hand tied behind our back. We must break down the barriers to a sustainable future. Let’s put onshore wind back on the map. 

  • Good Law Project can only protect the environment with your help. Anything you can give to support our work will help us make positive change.