Biomass boiler operation impact on important landscape

An inspector has upheld an enforcement notice requiring the removal of a shed housing a biomass boiler at a house in the Quantock Hills AONB in Somerset, concluding that it adversely affected the natural beauty of the area.

The property lay on the edge of a village. The council, relying on evidence from the AONB advisory board, argued that the impact mainly occurred when the boiler was in use. A plume of smoke was emitted from the top of the chimney stack and this drew attention to the shed.

The shed and chimney appeared as industrialising elements in the landscape, the inspector decided, and some residents living higher up the hillside had clear views of the installation. Great weight was afforded in government policy to the protection of the natural beauty of the area and the production of ‘green’ energy did not automatically override this aim, he decided. In so concluding he also accepted that some residents had been adversely affected by acrid smoke from the chimney and despite the appellant producing a boiler screening assessment which proposed measures to mitigate the impact, he could not be sure that these would be effective whilst still allowing the boiler to be used efficiently.

Inspector: Nigel Burrows; Hearing

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