The importance of determining a UK policy for the decommissioning and restoration of onshore wind farms

To The Editor, Sunday Telegraph
It is with great interest that I read your headline article on Sunday 26th May “Gove plans new wave of national parks”. I whole heartedly support this initiative and welcome it with open arms being a passionate believer in open spaces and protection of our countryside for the enjoyment of all. I am also very aware that a lot of our National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) are surrounded by onshore wind farms. As we all know, onshore wind farms have a limited life time and massively detract from the beauty and enjoyment of the countryside. It is also a known fact that offshore wind farms are significantly more efficient than onshore and we in the UK proudly support the world’s largest offshore wind farm, situated just off the Cumbrian coast. It is essential that end of life onshore wind farms are properly decommissioned and the land restored, so that the countryside can be protected and enjoyed by all, especially if National Parks are to be subject to a boundary review and AONB’s may be expanded and designated as National Parks. It is therefore extremely disappointing to note that we in the UK have no Onshore Wind Farm Decommissioning and Land Restoration Policy, we are entirely reliant upon the good will of the wind farm developer to decommission the onshore wind farm and restore our countryside to what it was before the onshore wind farm was built. Unfortunately, this presents the developer with a conflict of interest as many of the developers profit from the wind farms and decommissioning and restoration cost money. The nearest publication I have found which forms a basis for decommissioning and restoration is Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report No. 591 “Research and guidance on restoration and decommissioning of onshore wind farms”. I therefore urge the Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, to determine UK policy for the decommissioning and restoration of onshore wind farms as part of his wide ranging environmental reforms.
Yours faithfully
Rebecca Thomas Broughton Beck Cumbria

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