Local residents must have the final say over whether onshore wind farm applications get the go-ahead in their area.

Good news for all of us fighting wind turbine applications across the county and the country.

Yesterday Greg Clark, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, announced huge changes to the way wind turbine applications will be dealt with to take affect immediately. In a written statement to the House of Commons he said:

I am today setting out new considerations to be applied to proposed wind energy development so that local people have the final say on wind farm applications, fulfilling the commitment made in the Conservative election manifesto.

Subject to the transitional provision set out below, these considerations will take effect from 18 June and should be taken into account in planning decisions. I am also making a limited number of consequential changes to planning guidance.

When determining planning applications for wind energy development involving one or more wind turbines, local planning authorities should only grant planning permission if:

· the development site is in an area identified as suitable for wind energy development in a Local or Neighbourhood Plan; and

· following consultation, it can be demonstrated that the planning impacts identified by affected local communities have been fully addressed and therefore the proposal has their backing.

In applying these new considerations, suitable areas for wind energy development will need to have been allocated clearly in a Local or Neighbourhood Plan. Maps showing the wind resource as favourable to wind turbines, or similar, will not be sufficient. Whether a proposal has the backing of the affected local community is a planning judgement for the local planning authority.

Where a valid planning application for a wind energy development has already been submitted to a local planning authority and the development plan does not identify suitable sites, the following transitional provision applies. In such instances, local planning authorities can find the proposal acceptable if, following consultation, they are satisfied it has addressed the planning impacts identified by affected local communities and therefore has their backing. 

There have been concerns reported that the ending of subsidies might be delayed and how the timetabling of this might affect applications already in the planning system but the above announcement will affect the planning process immediately.

There was also more clarification about the ending of subsidies yesterday see:

Changes to onshore wind subsidies protect investment and get the best deal for bill payers

Congratulations to all the groups across Cumbria (and the country) who have fought to make their viewpoint count and who have lobbied their MPs to make this possible.

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