RWE 36MW UK wind plan rejected

RWE has seen its proposed 12-turbine Nun Wood wind project in central England rejected by the UK’s Secretary of State for Communities, due principally to its visual impact.

The saga of Nun Wood, which would have seen 36MW of capacity installed across Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire, has dragged on for nearly a decade.

But the rejection by communities secretary Eric Pickles is likely the final nail in the coffin for the project.

Working through its UK subsidiary npower, RWE was granted planning permission for Nun Wood in late 2011, but that was subsequently reversed following a legal challenge by Milton Keynes Council.

RWE appealed all the way to the highest level of UK government, but Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has concluded that any energy and climate benefits the project might confer are “outweighed by the inadequate protection of the character and quality of local landscapes”.

Mark Lancaster, Member of Parliament for Milton Keynes – and, like Pickles, a Conservative – had stridently opposed the project.

The UK government recently confirmed its intention to lower subsidies for the “mature” technologies of onshore wind and large-scale PV from 2014, in order to offer more to offshore wind a few years down the road.

Some experts believe the change will see many onshore wind projects in England rendered economically unviable – a welcome prospect to many Conservatie MPs.