Mossy Life

Image: Dave Luckhurst (left) and Dave Thomlinson from the charity Lightfoot, which is supporting the project recently published an article titled ‘Onshore wind farms blocked by planning rules favouring fossil fuels. The article featured the local Bishop’s Castle Heat Initiative.

Quoted from from the i newspaper Newsroom:

Almost three years ago, a group of residents of Bishop’s Castle in Shropshire hatched a plan to transform the town’s energy supply.

Research has found the average carbon footprint of residents in the town is 9 per cent higher than the national average, driven by the fact that home energy use is 45 per cent higher than the national average.
This is because Bishop’s Castle is not currently on the gas grid, meaning most people rely on oil or LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) to heat their homes.

With the help of Sharenergy, which supports community energy projects across the UK, members of Light Foot  began an initiative to create a Heat Network, which would be powered by electric heat pumps.
As electricity from the grid is far more expensive than oil, the group hopes to build a wind turbine that would supply cheap, renewable electricity directly to the project. 

“We take one unit of electricity out of the wind and we convert it into three units of heat, replacing oil and LPG. Huge carbon savings, air quality, protection from price shocks for the people on the heat network,” said Dave Green, development manager at Sharenergy. 

However, the group has hit significant barriers in getting planning permission for the wind turbine. The largest hurdle has been the stipulation that wind power can only be built in an area identified as suitable in the Council’s Local Development Plan or a supplementary planning document.

“That sounds simple, but it’s an almost impossible thing to achieve, because either there isn’t a Neighbourhood Plan, or it’s just been done and nobody’s going to go in and alter it,” Mr Green said.
After two-and-half-years, the group has finally managed to get the necessary changes made to the Council’s Local Plan, which Mr Green said was down to “luck” that the Plan came under review.

“It’s basically took us two-and-a-half years to get permission to apply for permission for the wind turbine,” he said, claiming that it would have been easier to apply for permission to “build an incinerator”.

The group are planning to submit a planning application to Shropshire Council in the autumn and are hopeful it will be approved, but Mr Green said they are the “absolute exception” as many other projects are not able to overcome these hurdles.

Quoted from website. The full original article can be found here: Onshore wind farms ‘blocked by planning rules favouring fossil fuels’ (

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Caroline Talbot
Author: Caroline Talbot