The Yorkshire Post by Mason Boycott-Owen
The pro-growth group Britain Remade yesterday unveiled its 25-point plan to increase renewable energy in the UK, with new wind projects at the heart of its offering to the UK.
The report sets out a roadmap to how the country can become energy-secure by 2030 following the rising cost of bills and inflation following the war in Ukraine.
The reforms included fast-tracking clean energy projects within designated zones, speeding up the redeployment of small modular nuclear reactors and ending the band on onshore wind in England.
The campaign group’s “Power Book” was dubbed a “manifesto for hope” by Ed Miliband, Labour’s shadow climate change secretary, at a launch event in central London on Monday.
It was also endorsed by the former levelling up secretary, Simon Clarke, who said that he hoped the Government would “seize on it and commit to urgent action to make the UK safer, greener and more successful”.
The group called on the Government to remove the requirement for unanimous support for a planning application for onshore wind and replace it with a “community safeguard” which would allow projects to go ahead unless a majority of local residents opposed it.
In addition those who live close to an onshore wind farm, would be offered discounts on their energy bills by turbine developers under the plans.
Octopus Energy launched a pilot scheme in 2021 which gave its customers who live near turbines up to 50 per cent off their electricity bills when it is very windy.
The first turbine in Market Weighton in East Yorkshire was followed by another in Hallifax in West Yorkshire, with the eastern county having the highest density of wind turbines in England.
The company has had more than 5,000 requests from people in Yorkshire about the scheme, out of the 18,000 inquiries they have received nationwide.
Previous YouGov research suggested that 87 per cent of people in Britain would support an onshore wind turbine in their area if they received discounted energy.
Britain Remade claimed its plans would cut carbon dioxide emissions by 40 million tonnes a year, the equivalent of taking 31 million cars off the road, and reduce the amount of time it takes to build projects such as offshore wind farms to only five years and get large solar farms running in 15 months.
This would also create tens of thousands of jobs outside of the South East, with Yorkshire set to benefit.
Through cutting red tape, the group argued that new Clean Power Zones, modelled on policies in Spain, would eliminate environmental impact assessments in “all but exceptional cases” for onshore wind.
In addition, former coal-powered power stations could be used to house small nuclear reactors.
Research carried out by Britain Remade found that the environmental impact assessment for the East Anglia Two offshore wind farm, which will provide 800,000 homes with clean renewable energy, ran to 10,961 pages.
Sam Richards, Founder and Campaign Director for Britain Remade, said: “Britain’s byzantine planning system is simply not built to deliver the clean energy revolution our country needs.
“But we cannot unleash the full potential of clean energy and enjoy the benefits until we reform our outdated planning system.
“Britain is the country that gave birth to the Industrial Revolution, split the atom and turned on the first commercial nuclear power station. There is no reason why we cannot be a clean energy superpower.”
Ed Miliband, shadow secretary of state for climate change, added: I urge all those serious about the green transition to show the scale of vision contained in this document.
“I look forward to building the broadest coalition to make it happen."
At the launch event yesterday, Mr Miliband said that regarding the Government’s expected “Green Day” announcements on Thursday: “I fear a boulevard of broken dreams.”
The announcement is expected to include the Government’s response to a High Court ruling that its net zero strategy was unlawful, as well as a response to an independent net zero review carried out by Conservative MP Chris Skidmore.
He said: “We need a social movement of builders, not just blockers. There’s going to be lots of people who have specific objections to these projects.
“I think the green movement is used to advocating for things at a general level, advocating against things at a general level, perhaps less used to advocating specifically for building of things.”