Following on from publishing our briefing note on the topic in June, Regen has submitted a response to the government’s consultation on ‘Developing Local Partnerships for Onshore Wind in England’.
Regen has submitted a response to the government’s consultation on their approach to ‘Developing Local Partnerships for Onshore Wind in England‘. The consultation is seeking views on community engagement, community benefit and improvements to current systems that can be made in these areas.
We are, of course, supportive of greater consideration of community engagement and benefits for onshore wind, and we are pleased to see this consultation recognising the need for a longer-term approach in this area. However, these proposals must be accompanied by a change in planning policy. Without the deployment of onshore wind, there will be no community benefits or opportunities to improve community engagement.
As well as the urgent need to change planning policy, there are a number of aspects not covered within this consultation that must be considered and implemented:
- There needs to be inclusion of support for shared ownership. Shared ownership provides the opportunity for a true local partnership between developers and communities. We are asking for shared ownership to be available as an option for communities on all new and repowered wind farms.
- Support needs to be provided for communities in using/administering community benefit funding. Without greater support, there are likely to be a number of communities that encounter difficulties in accessing and using community benefit funding. These challenges in accessing funding have been observed to contribute to negative perceptions of wind farms over time and could potentially impact the acceptance of future projects. We recommend that the government introduces a support scheme to assist communities in deciding what form of benefits they would like to receive and how to administer the funds.
- Support must be provided for fully community-owned onshore wind projects. While it is important to consider how communities can benefit from developer-led onshore wind schemes, the greatest benefit that communities can achieve from onshore wind is through developing and owning their own projects. Therefore, we are calling for the government to reintroduce funding and support for the development of community energy projects.
Interested in hearing more? Reach out to Rebecca Windemer, Regen’s community energy lead.