Anti-windfarm campaigners 'may cost country £1.3 billion'

Anti-windfarm campaigners stand to cost England more than £1.3 billion in investment and jobs, according to research today.

RenewableUK said the figure is based on onshore windfarm developments currently seeking planning consents, and do not include investment that has been already delivered and from operational windfarms.

The £1.3 billion covers job creation, increased business rates for local authorities and funds for community projects.

The study, by energy research company GL Garrard, is the first of its kind to seek to quantify the financial benefits to England's regions of onshore windfarms.

The report has been released at the same time as RenewableUK publishes its annual State of the Industry report, which highlights a fall in wind farm developments being agreed at the planning stage by local authorities across the entire UK from around 50 per cent in 2008-09 to only one in three for 2009-10.

RenewableUK chief executive Maria McCaffery said: "Aesthetic concerns may often be the grounds for refusal of windfarm developments at planning stage, but they can also be seen as selfish concerns when considered against the tangible benefits that wind energy can bring, not only for the benefit of the environment but just as importantly for local jobs and funds for investment, ongoing for the entire lifespan of a windfarm development."

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