An image of the Fox Covert solar farm. Image: Low Carbon.
An image of the Fox Covert solar farm. Image: Low Carbon.

Britain Remade has released a new study finding that 70 local councils have collectively opposed planning applications for 4.4GW worth of renewable energy projects including solar and battery energy storage.

According to the pro-growth campaign group, the number of refused projects includes battery storage that could store up to 680MW of renewable energy.

The group highlighted a number of examples featuring various projects including:

  • Medway Council, which refused its own plans to install solar panels on the roof of a main council building – a concrete and brick office block built in the late 1970s according to Britain Remade – due to fears that it would damage the Grade II listed site.
  • Colchester Council, which unanimously voted against the 2.2GW Bradwell B in August 2020, due to environmental concerns for the surrounding landscape. 
  • Northamptonshire Councils rejected a planning application to build a domestic driveway and install an electric vehicle (EV) charger as it would “change the character of the area.”

Over 350 councils have passed motions to help tackle climate change however, receiving planning permission remains one of the most trying aspects of installing renewable energy assets both on a domestic and utility-scale level.

Sam Richards, founder and campaign director of Britain Remade, called the study’s findings “breath-taking” adding that he felt it “absurd” for local councils to declare a climate emergence and yet stand in the way of progression.

“Across the country there is huge support for clean energy projects both large and small. But when these plans become part of the planning system, councils tend to hear from the most motivated voices – which unfortunately, tends to be the minority of people who are against a particular project,” continued Richards.

“If we are to hit our 2050 net zero target and provide secure sources of clean energy that will help cut the energy bills of millions of people, local councils must match words with deeds.”

This article first appeared on Solar Power Portal’s sister publication Current±.