British people are to be given their say over off shore wind farms.
New Energy Secretary Amber Rudd said any new schemes need to have the support of local people in order to go ahead. This new power will be in the Queen’s Speech next week, she said.
Ms Rudd also disclosed that the new government will make it easier for energy companies to frack for shale gas and find ways to extract it from beneath national parks.
She said the government would pass secondary legislation to allow shale gas extraction under national parks, but drilling will remain banned. As a result, the wells cannot be in areas of groundwater and outstanding natural beauty.
“With a Conservative majority I believe we'll be able to deliver shale, as we've always wanted to do, in a safe but beneficial way.”
Large onshore wind farms are currently in the control of a devolved government agency which can over-ride local sentiment. Now control is to be assigned to councils which will have to consult residents.
About 4,000 onshore wind turbines are already constructed and another 3,000 are planned. They are designed to provide power for seven million homes by 2020 and will not be affected by the change.
Miss Rudd said: “I’ve put a rocket under the team to get it done, putting the local community back in charge. We're looking to do the primary legislation as soon as we can.
“Local planning authorities combined with no new subsidies [to operators of wind turbines] will put local people in charge ... there will be a much more accountable democratic process.”