EU Referendum

Judge overturns wind farm plan on amenity grounds


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A High Court judge in London has rejected on appeal a plan by Sea Land and Power Ltd to erect four 344ft wind turbines near Hemsby, Great Yarmouth, on the fringe of the Norfolk Broads.

Sea Land and Power, which made the original application on 8 September 2009, had argued that the need to meet renewable energy targets over-rode any environmental or amenity considerations, but Justice Lang disagreed.

The site had been identified by Great Yarmouth Council in its 2001 Borough Wide Local Plan as "landscape important to the broadland scene" and "landscape important to settlements", refusing the application on the grounds that the turbines would have "a significant adverse effect upon the landscape character".

In a planning inquiry in November 2010, the inspector stated that it was "inevitable" that the turbines "would create a degree of harm in this essentially rural location". He supported the refusal on the basis that the adverse impact was "so significant" that it outweighed the need for renewable energy.

Justice Lang, in her judgement handed down yesterday, has ruled that "as a matter of law" it was not correct to assert that the national policy promoting the use of renewable resources ... negated the local landscape policies or must be given "primacy" over them.

In thus upholding the planning inspector in rejecting the development, Laing has overturned a long-held precept that the need to meet renewables targets is paramount, and quite possibly opens the gates to a flood of rejections of onshore sites.

Slowly, gradually, but inexorably, the government's energy policy continues to crumble. By 2020, the renewable industry had hoped to have erected around 10,000 more onshore turbines, to add to the 3,500 already in place. But, with this decision, they haven't a chance.

Pic: another wind turbine overturned – but this one in Otterburn.