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The Telegraph
The Telegraph
1 Jul 2023

Hundreds of miles of overhead cables and pylons are expected to be fast-tracked through the planning system despite local opposition, so Britain can meet its net zero targets.

The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) is devising sweeping planning reforms that industry leaders say are needed for the UK to hit milestones such as eliminating fossil fuel generation by 2035.

Ministers are increasingly concerned the growing demand for energy could outpace the capacity of the national grid, as households switch to electric cars and heat pumps while there is also a massive national expansion in wind power. 

John Pettigrew, the chief executive of National Grid, told TheTelegraph it would be “incredibly challenging” to expand the existing network to meet the Government’s targets without major planning reforms.

Currently, the UK generates up to 14GW of energy from offshore wind farms. The Government’s net zero plan includes raising that capacity to 50GW by 2030.

Mr Pettigrew said: “Without planning reform, if you’re trying to get to 50GW by 2030, that’s going to be difficult ... You have to see a shortening of the planning process.”

He added that by 2035, when the sale of petrol and diesel cars will be outlawed in favour of electric alternatives, the grid “is going to need to meet a demand that is 50 per cent higher than it is today”.