Turbines refused in line with local objections

The secretary of state has overruled an inspector's recommendation to allow a 102-metre wind turbine in Buckinghamshire, holding that his June 2015 ministerial statement on onshore renewable energy policy supported rejection of the scheme.

The secretary of state agreed with the inspector that the turbine would not be a significant defining characteristic of the national landscape character area around the site. However, he found that the structure’s impact would be moderate within a three-kilometre radius and its effect on the setting of the Chilterns AONB would be significant, contravening paragraph 115 of the NPPF.

In his view, the turbine and its rotating blades would be visible in long and extensive panoramic views. While accepting that the overall harm would be minor, he concluded that it should carry moderate weight, given the government’s commitment to maintaining the natural beauty of AONBs and the statutory duty to conserve them.

The secretary of state gave careful consideration to the inspector’s conclusions regarding the impact on heritage assets. Some harm would result but this would be less than substantial, he held. He could identify no significant adverse impact on tourism or equine activities in the locality. However, he judged that some harm would arise for local residents in terms of visual amenity and outlook.

Taking all matters into the planning balance, the secretary of state found that the appellant had not demonstrated that the planning impacts identified by affected communities, including harm to the landscape, had been addressed. Any contribution towards addressing climate change and producing renewable electricity were insufficient to make the scheme.

Inspector: George Baird; Inquiry

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