Petition calling on Government to drop the ban on new onshore wind farms handed into Downing Street

A former adviser to Boris Johnson has returned to 10 Downing Street, this time to hand in a petition to Rishi Sunak signed by thousands of people.

Sam Richards, who advised the former Prime Minister on energy and the environment, walked back down Downing Street to deliver the almost 12,000 signature petition calling on the Government to drop the ban on new onshore wind farms being built in England.

Organised by pro-growth campaign group Britain Remade, set up by Sam when he left government, the petition urges Rishi Sunak to reverse the senseless ban introduced by David Cameron in 2015.

Changes to the planning system introduced by the then prime minister mean any plan to build a new onshore wind farm in England has to be unanimously backed by the local community.

This has given an incredible amount of power to those who oppose onshore wind farms by allowing a single person to block a development, even if it’s backed by the majority of local people.

As a result, the number of schemes getting planning permission has crashing by 97% since 2016.

Ukraine, a country devastated by war following Putin’s brutal invasion, is now building more onshore wind capacity than England.

The ban has been in place despite overwhelming support across Britain for new forms of clean energy being built.

Polling commissioned by Britain Remade, and carried out by Opinium, revealed that across the country 67% of people support the building of new onshore wind farms near where they live.

Some regions, such as the North East, installing new turbines in the local area has the backing of 85% of people.

Despite this, only two onshore wind turbines have been built in England since 2020, meaning households up and down the country are missing out on power from the cheapest source of energy.

Delivering more clean sources of energy, including expanding the amount of onshore wind, is essential if Britain is to be energy secure.

Britain Remade recently launched the Powerbook, a major report on how Britain could become energy secure by 2030.

The report set out 25 clear and deliverable policies that would reduce the country’s dependency on expensive foreign gas and cut energy bills for millions of people.

Along with lifting the ban on new onshore wind developments, measures in the report include, more than tripling the amount of energy generated from offshore wind, connecting two new small modular nuclear reactors to the grid, and building more grid infrastructure in the next seven years than has been built in the last 32.

The group also called for accelerating the development. This will mean the time it takes to build a new offshore wind farm will need to be slashed to just five years, it will need to take just four and a half years to get new onshore wind turbines up and running and large solar farms will have to go from idea to generating power in just 15 months.

Sam Richards, Founder and Campaign Director of Britain Remade, said:

“This petition shows there is huge support for dropping the senseless ban on onshore wind, and turbocharging the delivery of one of the cheapest forms of energy available to us in England.

“During a cost of living crisis, when energy bills are still eyewatering high for tens of millions of households up and down the country, Government should be doing all it can to speed up the delivery of cheap, clean and secure sources of energy, not standing in the way.

“It’s simply mind-boggling that Ukraine, while it fights for its survival, has built more onshore wind capacity than England. Since 2020 just two turbines have been installed generating a paltry 1MW of power in Keele, while Ukraine has just completed first phase of a 500MW project, enough to power over 300,000 homes, less than 62 miles from the front line.

“As part of the campaign I’ve been to towns and cities up and down the country and people simply cannot understand why the cheapest form of energy is banned.

“The Government may be making noises about once again allowing new onshore turbines to be built, but much swifter and bolder action is required. That’s why thousands of people are calling on the Government to drop the ban now.”