Wind farm payments criticised as bribery

Communities accepting onshore wind farms will receive at least £1,000 per year per megawatt of installed capacity

Communities accepting onshore wind farms will receive at least £1,000 per year per megawatt of installed capacity, under an agreement by trade body Renewableuk in February.1

This equals just three days’ subsidy under the Renewables Obligation for a well-sited project.

The voluntary “community commitment” is the latest attempt to lift approval rates for onshore wind.

Last year the government said business rates from wind farms, worth an average £6,400/MW, will be kept by councils accepting projects (ENDS Report 430, pp 15-16).

Just 55% of onshore wind planning applications were approved between October 2009 and October 2010.

The commitment only applies in England to projects above 5MW, and only those submitted to planning authorities from May.

The average annual payment would be £11,000 given the size of schemes in planning. This does not seem enough to change anti-wind farm campaigners’ views. The Campaign to Protect Rural England called the commitment an attempt to “bribe communities to accept things which they otherwise wouldn’t.”

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