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Planning law changes ‘to speed up renewable energy projects’

Getting planning approval for renewable energy infrastructure, such as wind farms, is set to get easier following Royal Assent for the government’s Planning Bill, which now comes into law.

The current planning system has been slammed for making it too difficult, costly and time-consuming to get approval for green energy projects, with enough renewable energy capacity clogged up in the England and Wales planning system to generate 2.7GW of electricity.

Communities Secretary Hazel Blears said:

“One third of Britain’s electricity generation capacity must be replaced in the next few years and the current planning system is not able to cope. Under the current regime there is enough renewable energy caught up in the system to power over one and a half million homes. Many low carbon power sources will now get faster approval, and the country could save £300m a year.”

Under the new Planning Act major infrastructure projects will be able get decisions in under a year from an Infrastructure Planning Commisssion and developers will be required to consult local communitiess and other key stakeholders prior to submitting applications and to conduct environmental assessments where required.

In the New Year the Government will set out a timetable for how we plan to set-up the IPC and consult on the detailed regulations and NPSs to implement the new system.

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