The NAS has called for urgent attention and respect of the Human Habitat in relation to the Government’s proposed process, via National Policy Statements, for approving large scale infrastructure projects of national significance. This process has rightly been called ‘undemocratic’ as it will, as currently proposed, be applied via the powers of an Independent Planning Commission (IPC). While the Conservatives have said that they will do away with the IPC, if elected, the National Policy Statements (NPSs) will be enacted into primary legislation by the current Government, as planned.
The NPSs in respect of Energy, and specifically Renewables, have been poorly drafted and are reliant upon outdated and ineffectual measurement criteria (ETSU-R-97) for on- shore wind turbines. The NPSs also put unfair burdens of proof on both developers and local government and communities to prove their assumptions. All in all a very poor job that will lead to poor choices by developers, enhanced suffering on the part of local communities and further lack of understanding leading to greater suspicion and mistrust about how to effectively deal with these issues. Given that on-shore wind farms, once erected, will be in place for a generation or more, then surely it’s worth the Government’s time to get the test and measurement criteria for them correct? And given the escalating concern about noise impacts and health effects: getting noise assessments correct for these large scale projects is imperative to avoid future disaster.