Welsh renewable energy planning regime faces review

The regime for deciding renewable energy project planning applications in Wales is to be reviewed, the Welsh government's chief planner announced yesterday.

Speaking at a conference hosted by law firm Eversheds in Cardiff, Rosemary Thomas said that the Welsh government had decided to review all renewable energy applications that have been processed by the Welsh planning system since 2005.

She said that the research would involve examining all applications since 2005 to determine how long the system had taken to produce a decision, as well as in depth research into several individual cases.

She added that the research would form the basis of an action plan from the Welsh government to ensure that "we get our house in order".

Thomas said: "We need to dispel the myth that Wales isn’t open for business in terms of energy projects. We want to find out where the blockages are. What are the problems? We will commission that research as soon as possible."

The review is to cover the period dating back to 2005 when the Welsh government introduced technical advice note (TAN) 8, which identified a series of strategic search areas (SSAs) where development should be focused. TAN 8 included targets for how much development each SSA should aim to attract.

TAN 8 has proved controversial in Wales, with some campaigners against wind farms claiming that it has led to the proliferation of development and developers and some consultants criticising it for failing to encourage sufficient development.

adam.branson@haymarket.com

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