Wind Power in the UK (PDF). - Sustainable Development Commission

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Wind Power in the UK (PDF). - Sustainable Development Commission

5 Wind power and planningSummary• Small and medium-sized wind power planning applications are dealt with by local planningauthorities• Large projects are handled directly by the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry or theScottish Executive• Planning policies exist for each UK nation to provide guidance for local decision makers onrenewable energy developments• An Environmental Impact Assessment is required for most wind farm developments – this mustbe comprehensive and fully implementedThis section takes a closer look at the planningsystem and planning policy for wind energyprojects. The planning policy environment andconsents procedure are gradually improving –and will need to continue to do so – if the UK isto meet its targets for renewable energydevelopment.5.1 Planning process for windprojectsAll wind developments in the UK have to applyfor planning permission and/or consent. For allonshore energy projects in Great Britain over 50MW in capacity, and those over 1 MW offshore,planning consent is not provided by the localplanning authority, but is dealt with directly bythe Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) (forEngland and Wales) or the Scottish Executive (forScotland) under Section 36 of the Electricity Act1989 xvii . All other projects are dealt with by thelocal planning authority.In Northern Ireland, all wind developmentsrequire planning permission from theDepartment of Environment, and under Article39 of the Electricity (NI) Order 1992, all energyprojects over 10 MW must also obtain consentfrom the Department of Enterprise, Trade andInvestment.For larger wind power projects (usually thoseover 5 MW), the wind developer is legallyrequired to produce an independentEnvironmental Impact Assessment (see Box 5),which should investigate specific concerns suchas landscape, noise and wildlife effects. Theresults of the EIA are published in anEnvironmental Statement (ES), which is apublicly available document that will be used inthe consents process. It is accompanied by anon-technical summary, which should be writtenin an accessible way and be available free ofcharge, usually from the developer. Manydevelopers will put this information on theirwebsites, a form of good practice that should beencouraged.Local planning decisionsFor wind power projects under 50 MW, thedeveloper will need to apply for planningpermission from the local planning authority(LPA). In England, planning is usually thexvii The Electricity Act 1989 only applies to the Renewable Energy Zone adjacent to Northern Ireland’s territorial waters; it doesnot cover onshore or territorial water areas.44 Wind Power in the UK sustainable development commission

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