Investigation: has the government’s onshore wind ban worked?

In 2015, the government removed financial support for onshore wind and put new planning barriers in the way of projects in England. They’ve claimed that this isn’t a ban on onshore wind, but a measure to give communities the final say over wind projects. Our new investigation reveals something different.  

We’ve been digging through the government’s planning records for wind projects. And here’s what we found.

Since 2015, we’ve seen a 94% drop in applications for new wind projects in England. This undoubtedly reflects the massive uncertainty created by the government’s new planning rules. Wind developers don’t think their turbines will get permission in England, so they don’t bother. And you can see why: just two small projects have made it through the system in the last two years.

While these planning rules only apply in England, financial barriers affect the whole of the UK. The slashing of government support for onshore wind means there are few plans for new projects, now those agreed before 2015 have been built.

74% of us now support onshore wind - compared to just 13% for fracking and 33% for nuclear. What’s more, onshore wind is now our cheapest form of new-build energy in the UK.

At the very moment we should be ramping up our action on climate change, the government is shutting down cheap, popular onshore wind

This is a worrying situation for all of us who want a future powered by renewables. Especially since we know onshore wind is already breaking records. Last year it produced more electricity than coal for the first time, and this month wind gave us more power than ever before.

Onshore wind can tackle climate change and cut energy bills. So why isn’t the government backing this amazing resource? Together we’re asking them just that, and taking a stand for onshore wind.

To change this story, we need to reach more decision makers - and we need your help to do it. Will you write to your MP with the results of our investigation to demand urgent action?

If you want to check out our planning data, click here. If you want to read our full briefing, that's here.