Judge backs approval of Nottinghamshire green belt turbine

A High Court judge has backed a Nottinghamshire council's approval of a single wind turbine in the green belt.

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

Planning permission for the turbine at Woodborough Park farm, Woodborough was initially granted by Gedling Borough Council in 2011, although that was overturned by the courts.

However, the council granted planning permission for a fresh application to farmer, John Charles-Jones, in April this year. 

Local pressure group, Woodborough and Calverton Against Wind Turbines (WACAT), challenged the new approval.

But now, at London's High Court, Mr Justice Green said that planning officer's report, recommending the grant of consent, was "pragmatic and sensible" and that councillors were properly advised.

The challenge was spearheaded on WACAT's behalf by local resident, Julia Holder.

Her legal team, headed by Richard Harwood QC, made a range of legal complaints about the council's decision, but the judge rejected all of them.

Charles-Jones and his wife said the turbine brought in a profit of £112,500-a-year that was essential to the farm's prosperity.

And the judge said councillors were right to take into account the "practical realities" of running a farming business.

Arguments that the turbine presented a hazard to equestrians and their mounts on a nearby bridleway were also rejected.

The judge accepted that planting a mature hedge and new trees in the area would only partially mask the turbine from view.

But he ruled that the council was entitled to treat the plantings as bringing ecological and landscape character advantages.

The council was also justified in focusing on the turbine's contribution to "carbon off-setting", he ruled.

The planning officer, he said, had also acted "entirely properly" in advising councillors that the turbine would be in line with government policy.

Objectors said the decision flew in the face of a ministerial statement to Parliament in June 2015 concerning wind turbine developments.

But the judge concluded: "In my view, the statement does not endorse the principle that a vocal minority has the ability to exert decisive and dominant influence in a manner which would not otherwise occur."

Holder v Gedling Borough Council. Case Number: CO/2790/2016


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