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BWEA today (25 June) 2008 backed Government plans to introduce a fast track planning process for major infrastructure projects.
Wednesday's House of Commons vote on the Planning Reform Bill is expected to be close and wind industry representatives are concerned that a Government defeat could cause delays in developing a new generation of offshore wind-farms. Currently it takes on average 8-9 years to move from identifying an offshore wind site to the wind farm becoming operational. In some instances offshore wind farms have been stuck in planning for five years. Grid power lines have also suffered from heavy delays, the Beauly-Denny line which would connect wind rich areas in the North of Scotland to the National Grid has been in the planning system since 2005. The Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) proposed by the Planning Bill would take over decision making on offshore wind farms over 100MW in size and for power cables over 132kv. Under the IPC arrangements planning applications would be fast-tracked through in under a year.
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