Anti-wind farm campaigners stand to cost England over £1.3bn

Aesthetic concerns damage opportunities for local job creation, increased business rates for local councils, and funds for local community projects. England stands to gain over £1.3bn in wind energy investments by 2030, if all onshore wind farm developments currently seeking approval are agreed.

England stands to lose over £1.3bn in investment that will directly create jobs and opportunities for local companies, funds for community activities and increased business rates for local authorities because of the actions of anti-wind farm campaigners, according to RenewableUK, the trade association for the UK’s wind power industry. The £1.3bn figure represents money that would flow directly to businesses and organisations at the local and regional level.

The investment opportunities in England are outlined in a report commissioned by RenewableUK from GL Garrard Hassan, the internationally renowned renewable energy research consultancy.

The figures are based on onshore wind farm developments seeking planning consent in England at the present time, and do not include investment that has been already delivered and is ongoing for local companies across England from wind farms that are operational. The first-of-its-kind study seeks to quantify the financial benefits to England’s regions of onshore wind farms.

The GL Garrad Hassan report highlights the development and investment opportunities across the UK, the capital expenditure opportunities for local companies engaged in construction, and the ongoing maintenance opportunities for local engineering companies during the lifespan of all wind turbines.

In addition, through plans that are under consideration by the government, renewable energy projects will be able to provide 100% of business rates payable to local authorities, and local community initiatives will be supported financially through funds agreed at part of the planning process.

The report has been released at the same time as RenewableUK publishes its annual State of the Industry report, which highlights a fall in wind farm developments being agreed at the planning stage by local authorities across the entire UK from over 50% in 2008-9 to only one in three for 2009-10.

Commenting on the report, Maria McCaffery MBE, Chief Executive of RenewableUK said: "The UK wind energy industry is already bringing investment and jobs for local people and companies all across the country, and can deliver many more financial benefits in the years ahead. Aesthetic concerns may often be the grounds for refusal of windfarm developments at planning stage, but they can also be seen as selfish concerns when considered against the tangible benefits that wind energy can bring, not only for the benefit of the environment but just as importantly for local jobs and funds for investment, ongoing for the entire lifespan of a wind farm development. By halting developments, anti-windfarm campaigners are doing their local communities a disservice, and one that no-one can afford in these difficult economic times".

RenewableUK is the trade and professional body for the UK wind and marine renewables industries. Formed in 1978, and with 650 corporate members, RenewableUK is the leading renewable energy trade association in the UK. Wind has been the world’s fastest-growing renewable energy source for the last seven years, and this trend is expected to continue with falling costs of wind energy and the urgent international need to tackle CO2 emissions to prevent climate change. 

GL Garrard Hassan is the world’s largest renewable energy consultancy. It offers independent technical and engineering services, products, and training courses to the onshore and offshore wind, wave, tidal and solar sectors. Although the GL Garrad Hassan name is new, the company has a rich heritage. It is borne of the integration of specialist companies that, united under a single brand, form the renewable energy consulting division of the GL Group. GL Garrad Hassan is a consulting company; it has no equity stake in any device or project. This rule of operation is central to its philosophy, something which sets it apart from many other players and underlines its independence.