Farmers to be allowed wind turbines without planning permission

A wind turbine in a farm in Perthshire, Scotland
A wind turbine in a farm in Perthshire, Scotland

Farmers will be allowed to build wind turbines without planning permission under Government plans to boost agriculture.

Ministers will consult on allowing a single, small-scale wind turbine to be built under permitted development rights as part of measures to support the sector.

Under current rules, only wind turbines below 11.1m high can be constructed without planning permission, which experts say is smaller than most commercially available equipment.

There have been calls for permission to be extended to turbines as high as 30m, still well below the 120-150m of the largest onshore wind farms.

Without permitted development rights, farmers could face opposition from local residents during the planning permission process, which has frequently blocked onshore wind development across England.

Energy for their milking parlour

Victoria Vyvyan, the president of the Country and Land Business Association, said the move would help farmers to become more self-sufficient.

“This is a way for farmers to create energy for their milking parlour, and would really help with running costs,” she said.

The move was announced during the Government’s second Farm to Fork summit at Downing Street on Tuesday, where the Prime Minister hosted representatives from the food and farming industry.

A new annual food security index was introduced following warnings from farmers that agricultural resilience was under threat from extreme weather and cheap imports.

It showed that the UK produces just 17 per cent of the fruit and 55 per cent of the vegetables it consumes, although it adds that food security is “broadly stable”.

The National Farmers’ Union said it welcomed announcements made at the summit, which included a doubling of support for the horticulture sector, and a £75m fund for public authorities to deal with this year’s flooding.

But it said not enough was being done to deal with farmers’ immediate cash flow problems, following the wettest 18 months on record.

Crop yields down 20pc

“While we are pleased to see the Prime Minister and Defra saying UK food security is vital to our national security, we need actions in the short-term that underpin that statement, in order to rebuild confidence and resilience so farming businesses can continue producing food,” NFU President Tom Bradshaw said.

He pointed to the fact that some crop yields were expected to be down 20 per cent due to the flooding and heavy losses in lambs during recent poor weather.

He added that what was needed was a “a coherent overarching strategy” to guarantee agricultural resilience.

The Government said it would allow farmers to delay work required to receive subsidies if land had been impacted by flooding,

“This government will always back British farmers. Food production is the primary purpose of farming, and our farmers and food producers work hard to keep the nation fed, despite challenges including flooding,” said farming minister Mark Spencer.