Court of Appeal overturns High Court turbines refusal

Court of Appeal judges have overturned a High Court decision which approved two wind turbines on the outskirts of the North Wales village of Llandrillo.

London's Royal Courts of Justice
London's Royal Courts of Justice

The ruling marked the latest twist in a battle by local resident, Andrew Jedwell, who has been fighting against plans to build two 46-metre high wind turbines at Syrior Farm, near the village.

Planning permission was granted by Denbighshire County Council in July 2013, and in May last year a judge at the High Court rejected Jedwell’s legal challenge to that decision.

But yesterday three judges at the Court of Appeal ruled that the judge who rejected Jedwell’s case made a mistake.

They have sent the case back to the High Court for reconsideration in the light of a procedural irregularity during the High Court hearing.

The case centres on a decision made by planning officer which gave the project planning permission.

The officer decided that an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was not necessary for the project.

But lawyers for Jedwell argued that the officer did not properly explain her reasons, and that as a result the planning permission should be rejected.

The High Court judge who decided on the case last year rejected this argument. He said that while the planning officer’s original note explaining herself was not adequate, she explained herself properly in a subsequent witness statement.

But in the Court of Appeal, Lords Justices Moore-Bick, Lewison and Kitchin ruled that the judge could not reach this conclusion because the officer was not cross examined about her evidence during the High Court case.

"This was one of those admittedly rare cases in which cross examination was necessary in order for justice to be done and to be seen to be done," said Lord Justice Lewison in the Court of Appeal’s ruling today.

Although cross-examination is unusual in cases like this, the judge’s decision not to allow it "was wrong in principle" he said.

Jedwell v Denbighshire County Council & Ors. Case Number: C1/2014/2478

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