Secretary of state overrules inspector in wind farm rejection

A called-in application for four wind turbines up to 100 metres tall to blade tip on a site in East Anglia has been refused, despite an inspector recommending that permission should be granted.

The council did not oppose the proposal and had resolved to grant permission. The scheme was opposed by a landscape protection group that had been granted Rule 6(6) status. The inspector acknowledged that the applicant had a fallback position, involving a previous consent for two turbines that would be built to provide a financial return on investment. On that basis, the secretary of state found that the scheme involved a net addition of two turbines.

The inspector concluded that the local landscape had a low sensitivity to change. The secretary of state held that the scheme's impact would be significantly adverse, coupled with an overbearing impact on the outlook from a nearby home. The siting of some turbines between 835 and 1,100 metres of their rear elevation would introduce intrusive elements in a private garden and conservatory, he decided. 

While accepting that the appeal proposal would not render the dwelling an unattractive or unpleasant place to live, he judged that it would not comply with a development plan document seeking to prevent overbearing development. Having applied the transitional provisions set out in a written ministerial statement issued in June 2015, he was not satisfied that the planning impacts on identified communities had been addressed. The benefits of generating up to 8MW of electricity and mitigating climate change did not outweigh this harm, he concluded.

Inspector: John Braithwaite; Inquiry

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