National government

At a national level, government policy that used to focus on large wind farm developments is increasingly addressing smaller scale and urban developments.

The Climate Change Act 2008 became law on 26 November and has made the UK the first country to set legally binding targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. The law commits the UK to at least 80% cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and reductions in CO2 emissions of at least 26% by 2020, against a 1990 baseline. The Act’s targets include all sectors of the economy and also require carbon budgets to be set, to cap emissions over five year periods. For more details and a copy of the Climate Change Act 2008, see www.defra.gov.uk/environment/climatechange/uk/legislation/index.htm

The UK’s Climate Change Programme of March 2006 details the policies and measures that the UK is using to meet its previous targets – to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 12.5%, and to move towards a domestic goal of cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 20% below 1990 levels by 2010, and by 60% by 2050.

The Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Act 2006 also, among other measures, requires the Secretary of State to promote community energy projects and to set national microgeneration targets no later than 31 March 2009. The Climate Change Act 2008 has repealed the previous requirement of this Act for an annual report to Parliament on greenhouse gas emissions but details of the July 2007 and 2008 reports and of the Act itself can be found at www.defra.gov.uk/environment/climatechange/uk/ukccp/index.htm

Planning Policy Statement 22: Renewable Energy (PPS22, August 2004) sets out the Government's policies for renewable energy, which planning authorities should have regard to when preparing local development documents and when taking planning decisions. This replaced Planning Policy Guidance 22 (PPG 22) and contributes to the Government’s commitment to renewable energy set out in the Energy White Paper at a planning policy level.

PPS22 explicitly supports small-scale renewable energy developments and states that local planning authorities should use positively expressed policies in local development documents to encourage the incorporation of technologies, such as small-scale wind turbines, into both new developments and existing buildings. It also highlights the fact that many types of renewable energy developments are applicable in urban as well as rural areas and calls on regional planning bodies and local planning authorities to take this into account.

The Companion Guide to PPS22 also calls for a proactive approach by local planning authorities, to encourage small and medium scale wind projects within industrial developments and on some urban sites, particularly in cases where the power can be dedicated to on-site use.  It promotes the planning policies of Merton and Oldham as examples of how to achieve on-site generation of renewable energy in developments.

Onshore Wind Energy Planning Conditions Guidance Note
This good practice guide, prepared for the Renewables Advisory Board and BERR, gives advice on the appropriate types of planning conditions for wind energy development. It incorporates information already present within existing planning guidance, provides additional advice for the use of planning conditions and outlines sample conditions for use in wind energy developments. www.berr.gov.uk/files/file35240.pdf