Local opposition weighed in balance on turbine

The secretary of state has given weight to local opposition in accepting an inspector's advice to dismiss plans for an 800kw wind turbine on a Northumberland farm.

The inspector found that the proposal would cause less than substantial harm to a stone circle scheduled ancient monument, significant localised harm to visual amenity and moderate harm to landscape character in the immediate environs. He added that the scheme would cause no more than minor harm to visual amenity and character at greater distances.

Citing his June 2015 written ministerial statement on onshore wind energy development, the secretary of state was not satisfied that the planning impacts identified by affected local communities had been addressed. Although a number of local people supported the scheme, he noted that other members of the affected communities had reiterated previously expressed concerns about the scheme’s planning impacts.

Objectors’ concerns included harm to the setting of the monument and the scheme’s impact on landscape character and visual amenity. As the planning impacts identified by the affected communities had not been addressed, the secretary of state gave significant weight to the scheme’s lack of compliance with the transitional arrangements set out in the statement.

He weighed the benefits from reduced greenhouse gas emissions and from reduced energy costs and income generation for the farm business. However, he concluded that these factors did not outweigh conflict with the development plan and national policy.

Inspector: Richard McCoy; Written representations

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