Renewable Energy from Wind and Solar Power, Law and Regulation


William Webster


£95, Wildy, Simmonds and Hill Publishing



This book surveys the key pieces of legislation and policy relating to planning consent for UK wind and solar projects. It reflects a considerable effort by the author – finally driven to publishing by the lockdown we are told – to corral a number of disparate strands of law and policy into a coherent whole. This is necessarily a task requiring renewal, as the objectives of the energy transition are progressing into law and policy (with the UK presiding over COP26 in Glasgow this year), creating new opportunities, and potentially new obstacles, for the development of power projects here.

The first three chapters are quick work, and contain succinct summaries of relevant law and important provisions of the government’s current National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) – the latter full of broad policy strokes to be taken into consideration by local planning authorities including the importance of minimising ‘visual impacts’ and ‘protecting landscapes’. A lot of scope for the exercise of discretion then: local governance for local projects.

The following five chapters are drier fare, with an entire chapter dedicated to extracts from the NPPF guidance in response to various aspects of the planning process. This could have benefited with some input from the author’s own experience of working in this area. I was looking forward to the section on repowering wind farms (a current issue), but this is given rather a quick glance.

Still, the best for last. Chapters 8 and 10 which, from a sideways glance take up half the book, are case studies related to various planning appeals. These survey the issues taken into consideration in granting or refusing key planning appeals for wind and solar projects – a handy reference point for any developer intending to seek planning approvals. One imagines an entire book could be written with just these case studies – full of Elizabethan gardens, bridleways, sheep grazing beneath solar panels and kittiwakes – indicators of character and amenity. The rigidity of the planning process also comes across – a change in wind turbine length necessitating a new planning application rather than an amendment.

A timely first edition then, to be built upon, revised and refined – and in time no doubt in the running to be a classic companion for any energy developer seeking to navigate the paths of building on the country and coasts of the United Kingdom.


Ashan Fernando is a lawyer at Clifford Chance LLP