Red Tape 'Is Thwarting Renewable Energy Moves by Farmers' 'APPLICATION PROCEDURES CAN TAKE TWO YEARS'

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), July 20, 2011 | Go to article overview

Red Tape 'Is Thwarting Renewable Energy Moves by Farmers' 'APPLICATION PROCEDURES CAN TAKE TWO YEARS'


Byline: SALLY WILLIAMS

FARMERS say trying to embrace renewable energy on their farms is like "wading through syrup" because of red tape.

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) Wales said many of its members are keen to introduce energy sources like solar and wind power and anaerobic digesters onto their land.

But they claimed their efforts are being thwarted by needlessly lengthy application procedures, some of which can take up to two years to process.

CLA Wales policy director Sue Evans said at the Royal Welsh Show in Llanelwedd yesterday: "We should be making entrepreneurship easier for people in Wales but it is like wading through syrup at the moment."

Chairman John Homfray said: "I'm trying to get solar panels added to my roof and even for that planning permission can take six months, which means we would miss the whole summer.

"I don't know if this is just a Welsh thing but it is unbelievable."

Director Ben Underwood said there is increasing frustration over the lack of joined-up thinking, unnecessary bureaucracy and lack of direction in trying to set up microhydro generation schemes. "These include constraints imposed by the Environment Agency, the Countryside Council for Wales, and the national park planners, as well as by the huge costs involved in linking to the National Grid," he said.

He said landowners are hugely concerned about the lack of cohesion in developing wind farms - with three levels of decision-making involved - and about the scale of some, such as the proposed Mid Wales connection to the National Grid.

"CLA Wales is enthusiastic about the cutting-edge technology that can help to deliver green energy but not at the price of the environment it seeks to protect," said Mr Underwood.

"The strength of feeling over the impact of a substation and dozens of 47-metre high pylons straddling an area that until now had been lost in time is a timely warning. …

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