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Copy of letter sent from Sec of State at DCLG to Planning Inspectorate re: Onshore wind guidance

Please find below a copy of the letter sent by Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to Sir Michael Pitt, the Chief Executive of the Planning Inspectorate, informing him of the changes in planning guidance following on from the Written Ministerial Statement (posted already on this blog.)


Sir Michael Pitt

Chief Executive, Planning Inspectorate

4/08 Eagle Wing

Temple Quay House

2 The Square

Bristol BS1 6PN


I am writing to draw your attention to the written ministerial statement I made today on local planning and onshore wind. A copy of the statement is attached. This sets out my intentions for planning practice guidance on onshore wind and compulsory pre-application consultation for the more significant onshore wind applications.

As you know, wind farm proposals can be unwelcome to local communities and many are being hard fought through the planning system. There is obvious frustration locally when a local decision is taken to appeal. I appreciate the challenge for your inspectors in reaching decisions which turn on whether a wind farm’s impact is acceptable in planning terms when the local community is quite clear that it is not. We can all understand how a local community must feel when the go-ahead is given to a proposal they have opposed because they consider the impact is unacceptable. To address this concern, we intend to issue new planning practice guidance as part of the work we have underway to take forward the Taylor review.

We have set out clearly in the National Planning Policy Framework the importance of early and meaningful engagement with local communities. We will also amend secondary legislation to make pre-application consultation with local communities compulsory for the more significant onshore wind applications. This will ensure that community engagement takes place at an earlier stage in more cases and may assist in improving the quality of proposed onshore wind development. This will also complement the community benefits proposals announced by the Department of Energy and Climate Change today.

It is clearly important that planning inspectors are aware of my intentions. I would therefore be grateful if you could ensure they see the written statement.

Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP

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June 2016

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