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Planning is a key target for newly-elected Labour, seen as vital to enabling the growth their plans depend on, and there is going to be a deal of news on this over the coming weeks.

First up for specific action is the removal of the hurdles unique to onshore wind that the Cameron government put in place in 2015, hurdles that amounted to a de facto ban.

They have done so by amending the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), removing the offending footnotes that created this effective bar.

Whether you agree or not (and it is worth bearing in mind that the ban was controversial even in the Conservative Party) all kudos to them for acting swiftly, this change is effective today, 8th July.

Before popping champagne corks (or taking up cudgels, dependent on your view) it is worth noting that this isn't the red carpet for onshore wind; it merely brings it into line with other energy developments. So, there will still be plenty of challenges, no doubt they will remain locally (very) controversial.

Eyes should now turn to the broader revisions to the NPPF, expected if the speed of this is anything to go by pretty soon, and somewhat further off proposed changes to the NSIP regime and National Policy Statements.

It will be fascinating to see how Labour's policy ambitions hold up to localism, but as an indication of the determination they have to reform planning, and the direction of travel for that, this is pretty clear.

As a footnote, onshore wind is clearly on the right side of the Finch v. Surrey decision, and nervousness about the impact of that on other developments my also help to focus investor interest in new onshore wind.

Read the Full Announcement

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David Harries

David Harries

Partner | Head of Planning, Environmental, Energy and Regulatory Law


Under David’s leadership, Aaron & Partners’ energy practice has established itself as one of the leading niche players in the industry, with a reputation for high levels of expertise and an exceptionally cost-effective service.

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