The UK government has proposed benefit packages for areas that agree to have local onshore wind farms.

The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero has said that “communities that wish to host onshore wind infrastructure should benefit directly from it”.

The benefits aim to build on those already in place – like holding a stake in a turbine, which gives the potential to receive profits from the site’s operation, or funding for new community facilities.

As part of a consultation launched yesterday (Thursday, May 11), the UK government is proposing that emerging types of community benefits, like energy bill discounts, are added to the range of reward schemes that onshore developers currently offer host communities.

The Developing local partnerships for onshore wind in England consultation, found on with a closing date of July 7, is seeking views on:

  • Improving the way developers and communities engage when an onshore wind site is proposed in a local area; and
  • Whether improvements can be made to the system of community benefits, so that communities directly benefit from cheap, clean, secure power.

Minister of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, Graham Stuart, said: “Onshore wind is a vital part of our plans to deliver cheaper, cleaner, and more secure homegrown energy.

“It is right that new developments have the support of host communities, and that local people benefit directly from it, such as through either a discount on their energy bills or other significant community benefits.

“Our proposals will ensure developers and local residents can work together more efficiently to maximise community benefits for supportive communities while delivering the clean and secure energy the country needs.”

Community benefits

The proposals set out by the UK government include formally embedding best-practice principles of engagement between developers and communities into official planning guidance for local authorities and developers.

The proposals also include working with RenewableUK to update its existing community benefits protocol for England.

The government said the proposals will build on a consultation run earlier this year on how proposals demonstrate support for the onshore wind project locally and how they address impacts identified by the local community.

It said it is currently analysing the responses and will respond in due course.

Head of onshore wind at RenewableUK, James Robottom, said: “We’re pleased that the government is consulting on the wide range of benefits which onshore wind can offer to local communities in England.

“We have a long track record of working closely with communities to ensure that they decide what form these benefits will take, depending on the needs and priorities of local people.

“Building strong relationships with local communities as early as possible is the best way to establish successful partnerships which last for decades.

“Alongside much-needed planning reforms, this consultation provides an opportunity to increase the amount of cheap clean power we can generate for consumers as well as strengthening our nation’s energy security.”