Local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales have approved 76 onshore wind energy planning applications in the last two years. All planning applications for wind energy in Northern Ireland are determined by the Northern Ireland Planning Service. There is now over 3 GW of installed capacity of onshore wind operating in the UK.
Is the Minister concerned about the number of Conservative and Liberal councils that oppose onshore wind farms, and about the Conservative MPs who oppose offshore wind farming? Does he realise that their opposition is sabotaging the £1 billion investment in renewables by the Labour Government?
Although wind power can make a contribution to Britain’s energy needs, does the Minister also accept that local authorities have an important role to play in listening to the desires of their local residents? [Interruption.] If wind farms are appropriately placed, yes, but if they are inappropriately placed, they do damage the future of the industry.