Friday, 26 July 2013

U.K. to share more wind-power wealth with local residents
6 Jun 2013

The U.K, will give residents more say over onshore wind farms and higher payments to communities affected by them, an effort to heal a rift over the technology that's divided lawmakers and sparked local resistance.

wind farm developers must pay 5,000 pounds ($7,721) a MW each year to communities that host projects, a five-fold increase from the current rate, the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency said in a statement today.

Prime Minister David Cameron's administration is seeking to balance a need to boost renewable energy and meet climate goals with the wishes of voters who are concerned about noise and visibility of turbines. About 100 lawmakers in Cameron's Conservative Party last year called for subsidy cuts for the machines, saying they're a blight on the landscape.

"It is important that onshore wind is developed in a way that is truly sustainable--economically, environmentally and socially", Energy Secretary Ed Davey said. "Today's announcement will ensure that communities see the windfall from hosting developments near to them, not just the wind farm".

New planning guidance will require that communities are consulted earlier on applications and that more weight is given to concerns about the impact on the landscape. For significant projects, such consultation will be compulsory before applications are lodged. Housing and Local Government Minister Mark Prisk said today in Parliament "significant" would depend on turbine height, size and density of plants and wouldn't include a small turbine in a backyard.

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