Companies setting up new offshore windfarms could have a one-stop-shop at the Department of trade and Industry (DTI) to sort out the consents they need, the UK Energy Minister Peter Hain announced today.
Mr Hain was publishing a consultation paper spelling out the Government’s proposals for trimming the procedure and for ensuring the environmental impact of these projects are considered fully.
The existing arrangements were fragmented with developers having to make up to seven different approaches to gain the consent they need.
The DTI will now act as a one-stop shop, receiving the application, distributing the information to other consenting bodies and managing the whole exercise.
Specifically, the proposals mean that DTI will clarify with the developers early on what information must be provided; produce a single application form for the offshore consents and gather all other relevant information and distributing to the correct consenting authority. Crucially, the DTI will help to seek solutions to any problems that developers come across as they try to gain consent.
‘Wind power is a vital part of our commitment to clean and renewable energy,’ said Mr Hain. ‘But we will only drive this forward with full respect for local opinion. The Government has announced a total of £89 million available in the form of capital grants for demonstration projects including offshore wind.
The outlined approach would bring all commercial offshore wind and water driven generating stations in England and Wales within the scope of the DTI’s responsibility for power station consents under section 36 of the 1989 Electricity Act.