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Planning blocks threaten renewable energy targets

RENEWABLE ELECTRICITY generation targets in the UK are likely to be missed unless changes are made to current planning procedures, MPs warned this week.

The Commons Environmental Audit select committee report urges a rapid review of planning guidance to help promote more renewable energy schemes.

The government is committed to generating 10.4% of the UK's energy production from renewable sources by 2010. The report accepts that renewable energy, alongside increased energy efficiency, is 'the primary tool to fulfil the UK's climate change commitments.'

Only 26% of wind power schemes proposed in England and Wales last year were given the go ahead, the report points out, singling out the MoD's increasing hostility towards wind farms. MoD officials objected to 44% of wind generation proposals, on the grounds that they affected areas used for low flying exercises.

The report says that other European countries had already embraced renewable energy. By contrast, it adds, the UK trails behind, despite having the best natural resource in the EU for wind and tidal power.

And although nuclear power would provide a ready made solution to emissions targets, the report states that the cost of any new facilities would threaten renewable solutions.

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