A pig-food manufacturer in England has accomplished a feat that’s been nearly impossible for close to a decade, positioning it at the vanguard of a shift in British renewable-energy policy.
Manor Farm Feeds’ rare achievement was getting permission to install a wind turbine. While the Yorkshire company might currently be an outlier, soaring energy prices and the threat of blackouts are driving momentum to reverse a seven-year-old ban on onshore wind farms in the UK.
Pressure is building on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to ease planning restrictions with April energy bills set to be more than triple what they were before Russia invaded Ukraine. A growing number of Conservative lawmakers including Sunak’s predecessors are clamoring for change, though its unclear when Downing Street will act.
At about a quarter of the cost of wholesale electricity prices, onshore wind is one of the cheapest sources of power in the UK, and expansion could help ease inflationary pressure. The onshore-wind ban has also looked increasingly out of step with Britain’s aims to empower local communities and fight the climate crisis.
Tiny wind installations like the one at Manor Farm are quick to set up, promising the potential for tangible relief already for next winter when government subsidies for energy bills will be lower. That’s eroding opposition from local authorities, which have traditionally been the biggest hurdle for wind-farm approval. The Manor Farm permit is a case in point.