5 September, 2023
The Sun, by Natasha Clark

NIMBY rules which allow a single person to block on onshore wind farms were formally binned today.

Rishi Sunak compromised with Tory rebels to quash an upcoming rebellion over building new turbines.

Ministers will rip up the default ban - but only when enough locals support it.

Councils will have to prove they have tried to address and hear concerns from people trying to block it in future, but will change the wording of strict planning rules.

And they will have more of a say in the location of new projects.

Firms will be able to expand and rebuild existing wind farms without having to get the same level of permissions.

Brits who leave near wind turbines and agree to have them put up in their back garden will be eligible for cheaper bills, under government proposals.

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove said: “To increase our energy security and develop a cleaner, greener economy, we are introducing new measures to allow local communities to back onshore wind power projects.

“This will only apply in areas where developments have community support, but these changes will help build on Britain’s enormous success as a global leader in offshore wind, helping us on our journey to Net Zero.”

New Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho added: "The Energy Bill is the most significant piece of energy legislation in a generation and will help us provide a cleaner, cheaper and more secure energy system for the UK.

"Onshore wind also has a key role to play and these changes will help speed up the delivery of projects where local communities want them."

A string of up to 25 Tory rebels climbed are now expected to climb down from pushing their amendment to the upcoming energy bill.

No10 and a group of MPs including former climate chief Sir Alok Sharma and former Levelling Up Secretary Simon Clarke had been locked in talks for over a week.

Sir Alok told the BBC this morning: "We've been in a detailed discussion with the government.

"I think it's going to be very important to see the detail of what the government puts forward in terms of its ministerial statement, in terms of what ministers say from the despatch box.

"I hope that the government will will have listened and will be willing to move forward.

"The current situation we have is that the just one objection can prevent a wind farm from being built. I mean, clearly, that is not a convenient veto.

"And frankly, I don't think it's a sensible way for a planning system to operate.

"Of course communities should have a say, but the idea that there should be just one objection and you can't have a wind farm, I think that is outdated."

And he warned the PM that any party going wobbly on protecting the planet would "pay a heavy price at the ballot box."

Ministers have already long-promised to rip up the archaic planning rules, but have failed to bring forward the changes.

Mr Sunak previously vowed to keep the de facto ban - introduced by David Cameron - in place.

But was forced to change tack after a rebellion by his own backbenchers in December.

Polling from Britain Remade shows around two in three Brits would be happy with a wind farm in their area.