No major onshore wind farm has been approved in England since 2015

Large onshore wind projects are set to return to England for the first time in seven years following the government’s decision to scrap restrictions on the energy supply.

New chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng promised to “unlock the potential” of onshore wind by bringing planning policy for the technology in line with other infrastructure.

No substantial onshore wind farm has received consent in England since 2015, a situation which has been blamed on onerous planning constraints including the ability for councils to effectively block the construction of new schemes.

National Infrastructure Commission chair John Armitt said removing barriers to onshore wind development was the “right thing to do” and recognises the “major role that wind energy can play in boosting domestic production”.

Kwarteng’s plans will involve reducing the “burden” of environmental assessments, and reforming habitats and species regulations.

Onshore wind England shutterstock

Major schemes will also be sped up by slashing red tape in the consultation process and increasing flexibility to make changes to a Development Consent Order once it has been submitted.

The government said it wants to “streamline these arrangements to promote growth whilst ensuring environmental outcomes are protected”.

Armitt said: “We also need to put wind in the sails of other major projects, including offshore wind and water supply infrastructure, which serve the national interest while ensuring proper engagement with local communities. 

“Crucially that includes publishing updated national policy statements for key infrastructure sectors as soon as possible, which will allow government to set out its strategic objectives and guide the priorities of regulators, industry and investors.”

Other reforms designed to accelerate infrastructure projects include simplifying consent processes for road upgrades and giving telecoms operators easier access to telegraph poles on private land.

The Treasury plans feature a list of major schemes which the government wants completed as fast as possible, including Northern Powerhouse Rail, East West Rail and an upgrade to Leeds station.

Energy projects include the Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C nuclear power plants, five hydrogen schemes and two carbon capture and storage clusters.