Department of energy and climate change hopes money will ease opposition to new farms

The government has announced that business rates paid by the owners of wind farms will go to local communities to the remove “democratic deficit” in development.

The move comes after fears that new powers granted to communities under the government’s localism agenda could make it far easier to block the construction of wind farms.

“We…want to see direct financial benefits through greater community ownership of windfarms and that’s why we have committed that business rates should be kept locally for renewable energy developments,” energy minister Charles Hendry said.

“The Government believes windpower has an important contribution to make both to our energy security and to our low carbon goals, but it should not be imposed on unwilling communities outside of a full and proper democratic process.

“These changes will address the democratic deficit in wind power,” he said.

The Daily Telegraph reported the changes as “bribes” for communities unhappy with the impact of turbines on the landscape, but Chris Stubbs, director at WSP, said that the move was a sensible one that would benefit both communities and renewable energy.

“Anyone labelling this contribution a bribe needs only to take a look back at recent history and global practices in the siting of new industrial and commercial developments to see the dual benefits that can be achieved.

“Today’s proposals will give local communities a share of the benefit, not just the impacts, of wind farms,” he said.