The seven 115-metre turbines were proposed on open farmland, with the nearest settlements lying between one and 2.5 kilometres away. The main issues related to the scheme’s impact on the area’s visual appearance and character and on the setting of many heritage assets in the vicinity. The secretary of state agreed with his inspector that the local plan was silent on the issue of renewable energy, so paragraph 14 of the NPPF was engaged.
He also agreed that cumulative harm to the setting of heritage assets, including many listed buildings and deserted villages nearby, did not outweigh the scheme’s public benefits in terms of renewable energy generation and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. This meant that the second limb of paragraph 14 relating to specific policies was not engaged, he found.
However, the secretary of state found that the cumulative harm arising from the scheme’s impact on the character of the landscape and visual impact from short and distant views would be significant. This, coupled with the less than substantial cumulative harm to heritage assets, led him to the overall conclusion that the scheme’s adverse effects outweighed the benefits in relation to the first limb of paragraph 14.
Inspector: Jessica Graham; Inquiry