Offshore wind farm permission to be fast-tracked in green energy push as temperatures top 40C

The Government said the legislation aims to increase the resilience and reliability of energy systems across the UK

Published

Permission for offshore wind farms will be fast-tracked in the drive to greener energy, the Government has announced in Parliament as temperatures topped 40C for the first time in the UK.

A move to reduce the planning consent period for marine turbine projects from up to four years to just one was among the planned changes outlined as the House of Lords debated the Energy Bill for the first time.

The wide-ranging sector reforms come against a backdrop of a record-breaking heatwave, spiralling energy bills fuelling a cost-of-living crisis and a threat to the security of global power supplies following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The Government has said the legislation aims to increase the resilience and reliability of energy systems across the UK, support the delivery of climate change targets and overhaul the sector while minimising costs to households and protecting them from unfair pricing.

Permission for offshore wind farms will be fast-tracked in the drive to greener energy
Permission for offshore wind farms will be fast-tracked in the drive to greener energy

The Bill seeks to support a low-carbon energy system and reduce dependence on fossil fuels over the long term with measures to help the industry step up investment in electric heat pumps – which are a clean alternative to gas boilers.

It will also curb rocketing bills by extending the price cap beyond 2023 if needed.

Announcing one of the Government amendments to be brought forward to the Bill at a later date, energy minister Lord Callanan said: “This measure will help to reduce the time it takes to get planning consent for offshore wind projects from up to four years down to just one year.”

On continuing the energy cost limit “if necessary”, he added: “The cap is the best safety net for 22 million households preventing suppliers from overcharging consumers.”

Outlining the Bill to peers, Lord Callanan said: “This Bill is an ambitious piece of legislation and allows the necessary reform of our energy system.

“We are charged with a great responsibility to ensure the security, the affordability and the decarbonisation of our energy supply for many generations to come.

“We are also presented with huge opportunities to leverage investments in new clean technologies that will reinforce the UK’s position as a global leader in delivering net zero.

Labour frontbencher Baroness Blake said: “There are millions of families facing the catastrophe of soaring energy bills. I am afraid the Bill is another missed opportunity that doesn’t tackle the scale of the issue.”

She added: “Long-term reform of the energy market is of course necessary, but it must come alongside urgent action to cut bills, strengthen our energy security and tackle the climate crisis now.”

The Bill received a second reading and now goes for detailed scrutiny by peers.