AuthorWilliam Webster


This book was written in the 6-month period before the first lockdown in March 2020. At that point, the legal publishing world went into a state of hibernation. The instruction from my publisher was to keep the book up to date. In the event, the book was largely rewritten and by the time it went into production in September 2020 I was satisfied that it was as up to date as I could make it, particularly when it came to the extensive case and appeal studies (with added commentaries) contained in Chapter 8 (wind power projects) and Chapter 10 (solar power development), which I consider to be the main highlights of the book.

In 2019, electricity generation in the UK from low carbon and renewable sources (LCRS) was 37.1%, whereas only a decade ago electricity generated from fossil fuels provided around 80% of the UK’s electricity needs (split between gas and coal). Although oil still forms a key part of the UK’s energy mix (40%), there has been a steep decline in oil production with the UK becoming a net importer in 2005. By 2019, coal accounted for less than 1% of the UK’s electricity, whereas as recently as 2013 it had been as much as 18%. The real winners in all this are wind and solar. Indeed, on a windy Boxing Day 2020, a record 50.7% of the UK’s electricity was derived from wind power, with wind and solar contributing 29% across the year, up from 23% in 2019.

Production of energy from LCRS is expected to intensify. The government has made the expansion of offshore wind production one of the main opportunities for achieving net zero emissions. On 27 June 2019, the Climate Change Act 2008 (2050 Target Amendment) Order 2019 (SI 2019/1056) came into force. Under this provision the previous target to cut emissions by 80% by 2050 was changed to 100%. The push is therefore on to target net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The current Prime Minister has chosen to go even further by pledging that offshore wind farms would generate enough electricity to power every home in the UK by 2030.

Many in the industry would point to the need for a better balance between onshore and offshore wind energy. Onshore wind energy is still held back by the

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