DC Casebook: Energy Development - Effect of turbine rural change accepted

An inspector's recommendation to allow 13 wind turbines in Cambridgeshire has been accepted by the secretary of state, who agreed that their visibility from homes, villages and cultural assets is insufficient justification for rejection.

The 367ha site comprised part of a farm in the countryside between Cambridge and Newmarket. Each turbine would have a 120m maximum height to blade tip and the scheme would have a 30MW generating capacity. The appellant argued that the region was falling far short of its 2010 renewables target of 820MW, rising to 1,620MW by 2020.

The inspector agreed that the region was failing to meet the targets. While recognising the urgent need to tackle climate change, he observed that national planning policy guidance does not seek to dilute the importance of environmental, economic and social safeguards. The scheme should be assessed against the area's capacity to accommodate it, he decided. Given its benefits, he concluded that the balance lay in allowing the appeal.

He agreed that the turbines would have adverse impacts on the setting of a grade II listed building and a scheduled ancient monument. But he found that the setting was already compromised by large modern farm buildings. As for the monument, he suggested that the turbines would offer a further example of how landscapes change over time.

DCS Number 100-065-183

Inspector David Lavender; Inquiry

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