Editor's pick: Turbines allowed despite harm to church setting

The secretary of state has allowed three wind turbines in Nottinghamshire after finding that their modest noise and visual impacts and the harm caused to the settings of listed churches were outweighed by the public benefit of providing renewable energy.

The turbines varied in height from 106 to 126 metres and were proposed on farmland and a partially restored opencast quarry in a flat landscape. The site was 1.5 and 1.7 kilometres from settlements containing grade I listed churches. One church's setting was considered particularly sensitive in terms of the surrounding open landscape, as the setting increased its visual importance as a focal point in the rural environment. However, the secretary of state agreed with the inspector that the harm was mostly limited to views from one direction and so would not be substantial.

Despite some harm to visual amenity, the inspector considered that the landscape had adequate capacity to accommodate the proposed turbines without harming the area's character. Walkers on nearby public rights of way would be aware of the scheme because of the noise generated but the overall effect would still be modest, she judged. The secretary of state concluded that on balance, the public benefit of the 7.5MW scheme, generating enough electricity to power 5,256 homes, outweighed the limited harm.

Inspector: Zoe Hill; Inquiry     

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