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Letter from Sec of State DCLG to Council Leaders informing them of onshore wind planning changes

Finally, please find below a copy of the letter sent by the Secretary of State to Local Authority leaders across England to inform them of the changes in planning guidance for onshore wind developments.

All Local Authority Leaders


I am writing to draw your attention to the written ministerial statement I made on 6 June 2013 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. I appreciate the challenge for local councils 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 need to ensure decisions do get the environmental balance right in line with the Framework and, as expected by the Framework, any adverse impact from a wind farm development is addressed satisfactorily. 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.

I hope these reforms will give a greater say for local people and strengthen the role of councils in shaping where development should and shouldn't go.

I have also written to Sir Michael Pitt Chief Executive of the Planning Inspectorate asking him to make planning inspectors aware of the statement.

Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP

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June 2016

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