Thank you for writing to me about planning permission for onshore wind farms.
Protecting our countryside is something I consider with the utmost importance. At the same time, I fully appreciate the need to boost our national capacity for renewable energy.
That is why I welcome the Government's plans to introduce changes to the planning system in England whereby planning permission for onshore wind would depend upon a project commanding local support and being able to satisfactorily address any impacts identified by the local community. The Government consulted on these changes and I understand that responses received to the consultation are being analysed. I look forward to reading the Government's response in due course.
Separately, the Government has said that it will seek views on developing local partnerships for supportive communities to enable those who would like to host new onshore wind to benefit, for example through lower energy bills.
I appreciate that there are a range of views on onshore wind. I firmly believe that local authorities - who know their areas best - are best placed to make decisions on onshore wind sites. The Government has been clear that strong environmental protections will remain in place, with valued landscapes such as National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Green Belt protected.
Onshore wind is one of the most cost-effective electricity generating technologies and already accounts for approximately a quarter of installed renewable capacity in the UK.
Thank you again for writing to me.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking