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The planners’ and conservation groups’ responses
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The first wave of wind farm projects faced local planners with considerable problems. There were few precedents for this type of development, for example, were they to be seen as agricultural projects as reflected in the label ‘wind farm’, or were they industrial projects, that is, power plants? Consequently there were requests for new planning directives from the government. Draft (consultative) Planning Guidelines emerged from the Department of Environment in 1991. However, in the main, they left the detailed assessment up to the local planning authority; the basic policy being to support wind for global strategic reasons unless local costs outweighed them. In effect, they asked the planners to balance the national and global benefits against any local disbenefits.