Removal of intrusive and polluting biomass boiler upheld

The retention of a biomass boiler in the open countryside in Northamptonshire has been refused and an enforcement notice for its removal upheld, subject to variation, the inspector finding the scheme did not constitute sustainable development.

The inspector noted that the NPPF promoted small-scale renewable energy projects, such as the one subject of this appeal, if their impacts were or could be made acceptable. However, the inspector considered the seven-metre-high flue of the existing biomass boiler had a distinctly intrusive and industrialising effect on the character and appearance of the area, which contrasted harshly with the context of the attractive countryside environment in which it was located. He concluded it resulted in significant harm to the character and appearance of the area. 

Secondly, the council had received complaints from nearby residents of the boiler producing odours and smoke. The council served an abatement notice and the appellant was later convicted and fined for being in breach of the notice. On this basis, the inspector held that the biomass boiler was likely to result in an adverse impact upon the air quality and living conditions of occupiers of nearby residential properties. Based on its harms to character and the living conditions of nearby occupiers, the inspector refused the retention of the boiler and upheld the notice for its removal but gave the appellant five months to carry out the works rather than the original three stipulated in the notice.

Inspector: Thomas Shields; Written representations


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