UK Regulatory Changes – Our latest article for WEN Magazine

This month sees the Committee Stage of the proposed law that completes the process of removing EU laws from the United Kingdom. The snappily titled ‘Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill 2022-23’ has caused a significant amount of alarm because of the way existing regulations could be swept aside and either not replaced at all, or significantly weaker regulations introduced in their place.

The areas of business that will be affected are widespread and include planning processes, Health & Safety, the Environment Act and the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015.

There is little way of knowing what impact the Bill will have on the regulatory landscape if it becomes law (which it most probably will). But the following will be effective law:

What does this mean for the wind energy sector?
If the incumbent Government remains a supporter of wind energy then it will be able to make changes to existing development and operation processes that speed up the roll out of additional wind energy capacity. The question is whether any changes to the law will retain existing checks and balances that protect aspects of our lives that might otherwise be negatively impacted (such as the environment, and trade agreements).
Government Statement

There are already parts of the Energy Bill (which is also making its way through Parliament) that are designed to speed up the planning processes for offshore wind to a significant extent by reducing the time that can be added to the planning process by environmental impacts identified within Habitat Regulation Assessments (HRAs). The Government said in relation to this,

“Offshore wind is essential to meet both climate change and energy security objectives, and the Offshore Wind Environmental Improvement Package (OWEIP), announced as part of the BESS [British Energy Security Strategy], will help to accelerate deployment of offshore wind whilst continuing to protect the marine environment. The BESS noted that with smarter planning it is possible to maintain high environmental standards while increasing the pace of deployment by 25%.”

The Retained Law Bill does present a legitimate concern that new laws will be introduced that have not been subjected to normal amounts of Parliamentary scrutiny. Hopefully in the context of the wind sector the Government will get the checks and balances right, and we can continue to roll out additional renewable energy capacity in a sustainable way and meet our climate change goals.

Click here to read the Wind Energy Network Magazine

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