Judge backs Pickles over wind farm refusal

The High Court has backed the communities secretary's decision to refuse permission for a ten-turbine wind farm near the North Yorkshire Moors National Park against the advice of a planning inspector.

Pickles: decision has been backed by the High Court
Pickles: decision has been backed by the High Court

Mr Justice Dove rejected a challenge brought by RWE Innogy Ltd, the energy company behind the proposal to erect the 126 metre high turbines at East Heslerton Wold, East Heslerton, Rydale, in which the energy firm hoped the judge would order Eric Pickles to reconsider the application.

Ruling that the decision should stand, the judge found that the communities secretary had adequately explained his decision and that it was not irrational.
 
He said: "I do not consider that there is any basis upon which it could be contended that the defendant’s decision in this case was irrational.
 
"The defendant has reached a different conclusion as to the appropriate weight attached to the impact on the North Yorkshire Moors National Park and he had ample material before him in order to reach that different conclusion."
 
He added that the secretary of state had clearly set out the basis for his conclusion that the impact of the turbines on the nearby grade I listed St Andrew's church in East Heslerton would be "greater than minor".
 
He concluded: "The claimant’s case both in relation to the impact on the North Yorkshire Moors National Park and St Andrew’s Church is not made out, and this application must be dismissed."
 
RWE is likely to face a legal costs bill from the government’s lawyers, but that issue will be dealt with later.
 
RWE Innogy had claimed that the secretary of state had unlawfully rejected its appeal against initial refusal by Ryedale District Council.
 
Pickles reached the conclusion that the total environmental effects of the scheme could not be made acceptable, but RWE claimed that he failed to take into account all the evidence, that he reached a "perverse" decision, and that he failed to give adequate reasons to explain it.
 
RWE Innogy UK Limited v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. Case Number: CO/3118/2014


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