Official: government confirms family relationships unaffected by onshore wind ban policy

Official: government confirms family relationships unaffected by onshore wind ban policy

FOI request and response:

The government performed only a minimal impact assessment on major changes to the planning system targeting onshore wind, new documents reveal.

In 2015, following their manifesto pledge to “halt the spread of onshore wind farms”, the Conservative government issued new planning guidance targeting onshore wind developments. With the government now seeking to cement the changes through the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), charity 10:10 Climate Action requested access to the impact assessments performed before and after the changes originally entered force.

The Freedom of Information request response revealed that the only assessment performed was the ‘Families Test’, an assessment brought in during the coalition government to test a policy’s impact on the “strength of family relationships”.

On all counts, the changes to planning for onshore wind were judged to have little discernible impact on families or family formation.

However the changes have had a profound impact on the industry, with a 93.6% decline in onshore wind planning applications in England since the introduction. It is clear from the Families Test assessment that the scale of the decline was unanticipated. Whilst the document acknowledges it would result in a decrease in successful applications, the belief was that this would vary on a “case-by-case basis”. Government data shows that only two new projects have received planning permission since the changes came into place.

Ellie Roberts, campaigner at 10:10 Climate Action said:

Of course we’re all incredibly relieved the government has taken the time to investigate how a policy banning new onshore wind farms might affect the nation’s families. But outside of family relations, this change has had big consequences for jobs and investment, so it’s really quite surprising that the government conducted only the bare minimum assessment required before hand.

The government’s own data makes it clear - this effective ban on onshore wind has brought the industry to its knees. The government should see which way the wind is blowing and use the NPPF as an opportunity to unleash onshore wind potential for communities, not cement its restriction.


For full FOI request and response please see:

For further information and requests for interviews:  Daniel Jones, press and profile officer,  0207 388 6688.

Notes to editors: