Region's Councils 'Are Delaying Wind Farms' * West Midlands to Miss Its Target on Renewable Energy
Byline: PATRICE JOHN
The West Midlands is set to miss its target on wind energy because local planning authorities are holding up the process, according to a leading body.
The British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) believes Government targets to create electricity generation from renewable sources around England are falling short when plans come before local councils.
BWEA chief executive Maria McCaffery said: "In common with most other English regions, the progress made in the West Midlands is disappointing.
"Yet we know that the target system does work.
"Missing the 2010 targets is now inevitable but we can still achieve the longer term 2020 ambition.
"To do that requires political will, which seems to exist within Government but not where it is really needed, within local authorities.
"The average time it takes for a wind farm to get through local planning is 14 months, yet it is supposed to take 16 weeks.
"All we are asking is for a level playing field. If other major infrastructure projects can be consented in 16 weeks, why can't a wind farm?" The West Midlands Renewable Energy Strategy, created in 2004, sets a target for regional electricity supply through wind energy by 2010.
This equates to 408MW of renewable energy but only 183MW have been installed.
This document was created by the West Midlands Regional Assembly, Advantage West Midlands and the Government Office for the West Midlands.
Director of the Environmental Business Club, Fred Mead, said communities must understand the benefits of wind farms if planning applications are to move through the process with minimal opposition. …