UK Government Rejects Call From MPs For Shared Onshore Wind Target With Scotland


UK (Parliament Politic Magazine) – Tory ministers have rejected the demand of MPs for shared onshore wind targets with the Scottish Government, hindering progress in the southern regions of the UK. This lack of enthusiasm from the UK Government for clean energy has raised concerns about the potential risks to Scotland’s advancements in this sector.

The Scottish Government has set an ambitious target of deploying 20GW of onshore wind by 2030. This significant capacity could generate enough electricity to power approximately 19.5 million homes annually. 

However, the planning restrictions imposed by former Prime Minister David Cameron, who famously called for the reduction of “green crap,” have left England trailing behind Scotland and Wales in their efforts to catch up.

Small-Scale Onshore Wind Development Approved In The Past

Since 2015, only 17 small-scale onshore wind developments have received approval in England. Earlier this year, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak pledged to facilitate the expansion of onshore windfarms in England. However, the UK Government has not yet taken steps to relax planning restrictions.

Renewables industry experts have expressed satisfaction with the support provided by the Scottish Government for onshore wind development. Scotland is widely regarded as the most favorable location in the UK for such projects. Presently, Scotland’s onshore wind sector sustains over 10,000 jobs and contributes £2.5 billion to the Scottish economy.

Scottish Government Has Published Their Onshore Wind Policy

Last year, the Scottish Government released its definitive statement on onshore wind policy. This statement emphasized the projection that Scotland’s electricity demand will double within the next twenty years.

 Furthermore, it highlighted the potential for the development of more onshore wind projects to generate a staggering £27.8 billion for the country’s economy and create approximately 17,000 job opportunities. In response to this, the Commons Business and Trade Committee has urged the UK Government to collaborate with ministers at Holyrood and in Cardiff. 

Their objective is to establish a unified target for the deployment of onshore wind across the entire United Kingdom by 2035. They firmly believe that this initiative should also serve as a catalyst for increasing the deployment of onshore wind projects specifically in England.

The Bid Presented By The Scottish Government Has Been Rejected By UK Government 

However, the bid has been rejected by the UK Government, which has issued a warning that it could impede “flexibility across the UK”. In its official response, the UK Government stated, “As we strive to achieve net zero emissions, the demand for electricity is expected to double by 2050 due to the electrification of various sectors. 

However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to meet this demand effectively. The Government acknowledges the significant role that onshore wind power can play in attaining our net zero targets and pledges to actively encourage and incentivize its deployment throughout the United Kingdom.”

“Due to the significant impact it has, the Government recognizes the necessity of providing flexibility throughout the UK, enabling countries and communities to accommodate the deployment of onshore wind power as per their support. Imposing a nationwide target could potentially hinder the required flexibility.”

The committee’s report, initially released in April, cautioned the UK Government about the lack of coherence in its energy decarbonization plans, indicating that the country is likely to fall short of its targets.

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Publication Has Highlighted Energy Efficient Measures 

The publication emphasized the importance of implementing energy efficiency measures in homes, addressing the long queues for grid connections for renewable generators, planning for onshore wind projects, and securing funding for the rollout of new nuclear power. These were identified as areas of concern in the report.

Furthermore, the report acknowledged that achieving decarbonization in other key sectors of the UK’s economy relied not only on decarbonizing electricity but also on significantly increasing the production of clean energy.

Darren Jones, the chairman of the committee, expressed the urgent need for the UK to expedite the development of new energy infrastructure in order to meet its net-zero targets. 

He stated, “Our report outlined numerous ways in which the government could assist in this endeavor, yet most of these suggestions have been dismissed by ministers. Merely conducting consultations is insufficient.”

Despite the creation of a new Department for Energy Security and Net Zero by the Prime Minister, it appears that no substantial changes have been made to address these concerns.

Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.