The impact of the legal framework for the consents process on the rate of development of offshore wind farms in England, and the achievement of targets for renewable electricity generation have been reviewed. From the literature and consulted stakeholders it was found that the complexity of the current consents process has adversely affected the rate of development and the achievement of renewable energy targets. Future projects will be subject to a different legal framework for consents, under the Planning Act 2008 and the Marine and Coastal Access Bill. From a comparison of process diagrams for the current and future consents processes, it is concluded that the future process should be an improvement. However, uncertainties remain about the detailed procedures and operation of the future consenting authorities. The capacity and capability of key stakeholders to meet their obligations have implications for the time frame for the processes of applying for, and the granting of, consents. Furthermore improved engagement from developers and clarity about the role of local authorities are essential if progress is to be made. The need for a holistic and strategic view of the industry, including associated development of the supply chain and the transmission grid, is also highlighted.