Conservative peer Lord Reay’s ‘Wind Turbines (Minimum Distances from Residential Premises)’ Bill has gone through its first reading in the UK parliament. This is the first step towards introducing a new provision into UK law.

The Bill sets out a table of minimum distances from the nearest residential property, equivalent to a prohibition zone, applicable to various heights of wind turbine. For example a WTG 25m to 50 m in total height including the blade at its highest would have to be at least 1 km from the nearest house, while a tower reaching 150 m or more would have to be at least 3 km away. If a number of wind turbine generators are being built as part of the same project the minimum distance requirement would apply to each WTG individually.

The mechanism for enforcement would be the limits set on local planners who would be prohibited from granting permission for structures outside the set limits, although exceptionally they would be allowed to set aside the minimum condition if all householders within the given prohibition zone agreed voluntarily in writing to the construction of the wind turbine generator.

Preliminary calculations by consultancy ADAS indicate that by this reckoningmore than 96% of land would be off limits to developers.