Generator plant ruled out as harmful to openness

The visually contained nature of a site in the Lancashire green belt would not prevent harm to openness arising from plans for a gas-fired energy plant, an inspector has decided.

The 20MW scheme comprised two ranks of generators, a switch room, control and welfare facilities, transformers, parking and security fencing. The site’s containment by hedges and trees had no bearing on the need to keep the green belt free from built development, the inspector opined. In his view, there was no question that the site’s openness would be diminished by encroachment of built development.

He decided that, from various vantage points, the generators would be seen to consolidate and extend development beyond the urban fringe, to the detriment of the area’s character and appearance. He also found that a desktop ecological survey lacked rigour, leaving him unsure that no adverse impacts on biodiversity would arise.

Since insufficient evidence had been submitted to prove that no sites outside the green belt were available for the development, and having regard to the fact that it would be in situ for 20 years, he concluded that the conflict with policy and harm to the openness of the land outweighed the benefits of increasing electricity supply.

Inspector: Michael Moffoot; Written representations

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