Permitted rights claim ruled out on woodchip dryer

Permitted development rights do not apply to a woodchip dryer and associated machinery proposed at a site in the Somerset countryside, an inspector has decided.

400-025-260 (Image Credit: Exmoor NPA)
400-025-260 (Image Credit: Exmoor NPA)

Planning permission had been granted in 2016 to use agricultural and forestry buildings and adjoining land for the installation and operation of a woodchip-powered combined heat and power (CHP) system, subject to a condition preventing use of the site for any other purpose except its previous uses. The inspector presumed that the condition’s purpose was to limit use of the CHP system to the appellant’s farm holding.

The appellant argued that the additional dryer now proposed was permitted development under class I, part 7, schedule 2 of the GPDO. But the inspector held that part 7 rights apply only to development that is both on “industrial land” and is for the “purposes of an industrial process”. In his view, the site’s current use was either for a CHP plant fuelled by woodchips or part of a wider agricultural use, neither of which formed part of an industrial process as defined by the GPDO.

He noted that the Land Use Gazetteer defines wood-burning for energy generation as a class B2 land use and an industrial process. However, he found this definition to be at odds with the Use Classes Order and the GPDO, voicing surprise that the gazetteer should define CHP as industrial when no article is made, altered or repaired and no mineral got, dressed or treated. The gazetteer is advisory only, he remarked. He concluded that the dryer must be a sui generis use falling outside the ambit of class I and so could not be permitted development. 

Inspector: Simon Hand; Written representations

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