Hammonds wins planning consent for UK’s third-largest wind farm

Planning lawyers at Hammonds have secured consent for a scheme to build the third-largest wind farm on British soil.



Planning lawyers at Hammonds have secured consent for a scheme to build the third-largest wind farm on British soil.

The £200m Griffin Wind Farm, near Kinross, was approved by Scottish ministers last week. It will contain 68 turbines and provide enough electricity to power 114,000 homes.

But the victory comes with wind power facing its first real crisis. There has been criticism of the rising cost to consumers and the lack of progress in building new turbines.

It has also emerged that the proportion of electricity coming from renewable sources rose by just 0.4 per cent between 2005 and 2006.

Hammonds planning partner Richard Glover argued that wind power remained “the most economic and cost-effective method” of producing renewable energy.

He said: “There is a lot of misunderstanding in the media about how the system works. It is commercially very attractive, but it is a huge amount of investment.

“There is a planning delay and a big planning risk because not all applications are granted.”

He added that one of the reasons for the lack of new wind facilities was the length of time required to get planning consent.

Hammonds represented GreenPower in a public inquiry into the Kinross farm, but the entire process took four years from start to finish.

Glover said: “There is a lot of frustration among wind farm developers that the whole system is slow and cumbersome.”

A Government planning bill, which proposes an infrastructure planning committee to speed up major applications, is not expected to come into force until 2008.

Hammonds has emerged as one of the leading players in the renewable energy sector.

Other major wind farm schemes being handled by the firm include the Tween Bridge Project near Doncaster on behalf of E.ON, and the Green Rigg project in Tynedale on behalf of Wind Prospect.