Plans to give communities a greater say over wind turbine proposals are deeply flawed and will make smaller renewable energy schemes prohibitively expensive.
The warning comes from James Davis who heads the Bristol-based planning team at national property consultancy Sanderson Weatherall, which advises landowners on renewable energy schemes.
The government plans to make early consultation between local people and wind farm developers compulsory under new measures to be laid before Parliament shortly.
Applicants seeking permission for more than two turbines – or any turbine exceeding 15 metres in height – would need to consult the local community before submitting a formal planning application.
Ministers also plan to slash subsidises for onshore wind and solar energy from 2015 which could also affect the financial viability of smaller renewable schemes.
Mr Davis, who is a partner at Sanderson Weatherall, says the measures will increase costs and red tape for small wind farm applicants.
He comments:”Members of the public already have the right to support or object to a planning application.
“There is currently a consultation period for every planning application which is specifically aimed at local people who are likely to be affected.
“These proposals, which would cover the smallest wind turbines as well as the largest, are therefore totally unnecessary in our opinion.
“Not only will these proposals hold up the development of renewable energy schemes, they will also greatly increase costs for applicants and make smaller wind turbines prohibitively expensive.”