Westminster Energy, Environment & Transport Forum

For booking-related queries or information on speaking please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk, or contact us: +44 (0)1344 864796.

Next steps for onshore wind in the UK

scale-up & increasing stake in the UK energy mix | planning & consent | community trade-offs & engagement | energy security | environmental conservation | net zero targets | green skills

Morning, Thursday, 26th September 2024


This conference focuses on the way forward for growth of the domestic onshore wind sector in the UK, with the new Government’s target to double production of onshore wind energy by 2030.

It also takes place following the recently published policy statement which ended the de facto ban on onshore wind in England by revising the National Planning Policy Framework to put onshore wind on the same footing as other energy developments. Delegates will assess the impact of bringing large onshore proposals into the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project regime on the rollout of new projects.

The conference will be a timely opportunity to discuss the new Government’s policy priorities for onshore wind, looking at priorities for Great British Energy, as well as implications of plans to make Britain a ‘clean energy superpower’, and the role of onshore wind in the Government’s Local Power Plan.

In discussing development of Great British Energy, delegates will consider the potential of the Local Power Plan to support local onshore projects in partnership with local authorities, energy companies and co-operatives, and the opportunities associated with offering co-investment for larger scale projects to the private sector.

Sessions in the agenda will explore latest thinking on how tensions around planning and consent for onshore wind developments can be addressed, and the impact that removing the additional tests that determine whether a development in the NPPF is acceptable could have on future proposals. Stakeholders and policymakers will assess how community concerns can be addressed, in response to these changes and in anticipation of the Government updating the Community Benefits Protocol for onshore wind.

There will be a focus on priorities for innovative technology and developing infrastructure to enable greater capacity for energy generation and storage. Discussion will consider what reforms might be needed to support the connection of wind farms to the grid and how Distribution Network Operators can create the capacity to accommodate them, as well as addressing concerns raised by stakeholders over intermittent power production.

Key issues relating to environmental impact will be discussed, as advocacy groups call for a measured rollout to limit biodiversity, landscape and visual impacts. Areas for discussion include priorities for protecting wildlife and areas of natural beauty, and incentives and benefits for communities that host new onshore wind projects. Further sessions will also look at the role of onshore wind in the UK’s transition to net zero as well as opportunities for developing green skills to meet new demands.

We are pleased to be able to include keynote sessions with: Daniel Cox, Deputy Director, Renewable Electricity Strategy, DESNZ; Heather Donald, Acting Head, Onshore Wind, SSE Renewables; and Cathal Hennessy, Head of Onshore Wind Development UK & Ireland, RWE Renewables. We are in touch with further senior contributors.

The conference will be an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who are due to attend from DBT; DECC, ROI; DESNZ; Defra; DLUHC; FCDO; HSE; Isle of Man Government; PEDW; The Scottish Government; UKIB; and the Welsh Government.

The proceedings of the conference will be circulated more widely, to Parliamentarians, ministerial offices, and government and regulatory officials with an interest in the issues being discussed. All delegates will also receive a video recording of the conference.

Keynote Speaker

Heather Donald

Acting Head, Onshore Wind, SSE Renewables

Keynote Speakers

Daniel Cox

Deputy Director, Renewable Electricity Strategy, Department for Energy Security and Net Zero

Heather Donald

Acting Head, Onshore Wind, SSE Renewables

Cathal Hennessy

Head, Onshore Wind Development UK & Ireland, RWE Renewables


Baroness Hayman

Chair, Peers for the Planet


Dr Carole Nakhle

Chief Executive Officer, Crystol Energy; and Associate Lecturer, Energy Economics, University of Surrey

Andy Manning

Head, Energy System Transformation, Citizens Advice

Cathryn Tracey

Director, Planning and Compulsory Purchase, Burges Salmon

Stephen Barrett

Director, Membership and Strategic Engagement, Energy and Utility Skills

Becky Pullinger

Head, Land Use Planning, The Wildlife Trusts

Dr Rebecca Windemer

Planning and Communities Lead, Regen

David Tudgey

Co-Founder and Director, Bristol Energy Network; and Project Manager, Ambition Community Energy

Paul Hewett

CEO, Belltown Power