An English Bill is making its way through the Westminster Parliament which could see wind farm developments subjected to minimum distances from settlements in England and Wales.
The Wind Turbines (Minimum Distances from Residential Premises) Bill 2010 has just completed its second reading in the House of Lords. The Bill, if enacted, would ensure wind farm developments could not be erected within specific distances of residential premises depending upon the height of the turbines. For example, turbines between 100-150 metres high would be required to be built at least 2,000 metres (just over a mile) away from the nearest residential premises. The minimum distance requirements would apply unless all residential owners consented in writing to the turbines being located closer. The Bill would not apply to turbines which are less than 25 metres in height.
It is still early days for the Bill: it requires to be reviewed by a House of Lords committee and undergo further readings and amendments in both the Lords and the House of Commons before entering the statute books. Whether this Private Member’s Bill will be enacted very much remains to be seen. Indeed, it seems unlikely that it will be enacted under current policy.
If enacted the Bill would not extend to Scotland, where governmental planning policy already recommends a minimum distance of 2km between wind farm developments and settlement boundaries. Ultimately the matter is left to the planning authorities to determine in the circumstances of the particular application.