Editor's pick: Wind farm dismissed over impact on church setting

The secretary of state has refused a recovered proposal for three wind turbines in Norfolk against an inspector's recommendation, concluding that their impact on the setting of a grade I listed church, a conservation area's character and appearance and the local landscape outweigh the benefits of wind energy development.

The 126-metre turbines were proposed in flat, open countryside one kilometre from a large village. A grade I listed church was the centrepiece of the conservation area and was adjacent to a burial ground. The inspector gave substantial weight to the scheme’s significant contribution of nine megawatts of renewable energy.

However, the secretary of state weighed these benefits against a less than substantial, but still significant, level of harm to the setting of the church and burial ground. The visual intrusion of the turning blades would intrude on the tranquillity of the burial ground and could disturb mourners, he found. He referred to evidence that the turbines would appear particularly intrusive looking out from the churchyard.

He agreed with the inspector that the conservation area’s character and appearance would not be preserved, even though the harm would be less than substantial. However, he considered the proposal would appear unacceptably prominent in the wider landscape in and views from public footpaths, undermining the area’s tranquillity.

Inspector: John Braithwaite; Inquiry

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