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No 10 expected to U-turn on onshore wind ban

Business and Energy Secretary Grant Shapps has hinted the ban on onshore wind projects could soon be overturned, as rumours suggest a backbench Tory rebellion is on the rise. 

The MP said there would be more projects in the future ‘where communities are in favour of it’ in an interview with Sky News.

Growing numbers of Conservatives are in support of the U-turn, including former prime ministers Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, who believe onshore wind could help to boost the UK’s energy independence. 

Onshore wind projects have faced a de facto ban since 2015 when planning rules were tightened under David Cameron.

white windmill

Shapps told Sky News: ‘We already have quite a lot of onshore wind. There will be more, over time, particularly where communities are in favour of it.

‘That is, I think, the key test of onshore wind – is it of benefit to communities locally? That has always been the principle for us, for quite some time now.’

Mr Shapps has denied there is a divide in the party as he said they all agreed local consent would be required for a project to go ahead. Simon Clarke, the Levelling Up Secretary under Truss, tabled an amendment in the Levelling Up Bill which would overturn the ban while in his role.

Reports from the Daily Telegraph also suggest the new Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove is in favour of the move.

Environmental campaigners have welcomed the proposed change, as they say the lifting of the ban is crucial in fighting the climate crisis and high energy bills.

Friends of the Earth’s head of policy, Mike Childs, said: ‘Lifting the ban on onshore wind in England is a no brainer. It’s cheap, clean, plentiful and popular with the public – and has a key role to play in tackling the cost-of-living and climate crises.

‘Earlier this month Rishi Sunak pledged to make the UK a clean energy superpower. It’s time to start delivering.’

Photo by Abby Anaday

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