, 22 August 2009
Ditlev Engel, CEO of Vestas, recently blamed UK homeowners and the plight of Nimbyism for the recent closure of the wind turbine factory on the Isle of Wight (Vestas expands wind turbine manufacturing in China and US as British demand collapses, 19 August). The blame does, to an extent, rest with nimbys – the people who want all the benefits of the modern world with none of the perceived inconveniences. However, the government is ultimately to blame for this mess. It has been warned these last 10 years that the planning system for wind energy is not fit for purpose.
The current planning systems are the biggest threat to the government's 2020 targets, our hopes of abating climate change and our hopes of creating new green jobs (another government mantra). The House of Lords made this known to the government last year when it took evidence from Ecotricity on current planning systems and included it in its report to ministers.
Wind energy is the only energy source that has its planning consent "granted" by district councils. This is an absurd anomaly – especially given that on-shore wind energy will have to contribute the lion's share of the government's renewable energy targets. Meanwhile, nuclear energy recently had its own planning process simplified. It's hard to square all this. The outcome of the UK having no wind turbine factories is inevitable – if we don't use wind turbines here we won't make them here.
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