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Wind Power

Volume 474: debated on Wednesday 26 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to which wind farm proposals his Department lodged objection in each of the last three years; and for what reasons in each case. (191117)

For onshore windfarms under 50 megawatts, planning decisions are taken by local planning authorities. For windfarms above this threshold, decisions are taken by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform under the Electricity Act 1989. DEFRA is not consulted in either case but Natural England will have a chance to comment as a statutory consultee. Natural England and its founding bodies have objected to three onshore wind farms in three regions, and seven offshore wind farms adjacent to four regions.

The Environment Agency is not a Statutory Consultee for windfarms, but is consulted on some windfarm developments for other statutory reasons. Between 2005 and 2007 (inclusive) the Environment Agency objected to a total of five planning applications for windfarms for reasons including flood risk, impact on biodiversity and groundwater. In all five cases after further work by the developer the Environment Agency were able to withdraw their objections.

The Marine and Fisheries Agency (MFA) has a direct role in licensing offshore renewables under the Food and Environment Protection Act. An application could be rejected if assessment of the detailed environmental statement, submitted with the application, and other information showed that the proposed development would have a negative impact on the marine environment. To date, the MFA has not rejected an application for an offshore wind farm.