The government has enshrined the embargo on onshore wind farms in its new national planning framework.

The first review in six years of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which was published for consultation yesterday, incorporates rules on onshore wind turbines introduced after the 2015 general election.

A written statement by then secretary of state for communities and local government Greg Clark, tightened the planning rules for onshore wind energy developments across England.

It states that projects containing more than one turbine should only be permitted if they are in an area identified as suitable for wind energy development in a local or neighbourhood development plan and if they are backed by affected local communities.

The NPPF also stipulates that and that councils have ‘limited scope’ to extend local sustainable buildings requirements, which should reflect the government’s national technical standards.

But it adds that local authorities’ role in improving the energy performance of buildings will be considered in the government consultation later this year on revised energy performance standards in the building regulations as promised in the Clean Growth Strategy.

James Court, head of policy and external affairs at the Renewable Energy Association, urged the government to use its review of planning to boost the energy efficiency of new housing.

He said: “There is a wide political agreement that we need more housing, and good quality housing, but very little discussion on what good quality means. Since the diluting of Zero Carbon Homes in 2015, we are already building homes that will need retro-fitting with insulation in the future, which is obviously madness.

“A proper home is a warm home, and if the prime minister is changing planning regulations a very minimum should be a well-insulated house. Going a little further, a pragmatic government should be looking at what a modern low-carbon house should look like. The cheapest time to fit solar panels or heat pumps or biomass boilers is when they are being built, same with electric vehicle charging and wiring that future families will require.

 

 

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