Case law >> wind farms take centre stage in legal battles

7th October 2014


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  • Mitigation ,
  • Renewable ,
  • Business & Industry

Author

Michael Cooke

Keith Davidson from LexisPSL on a high court decision to quash planning permission for a Welsh wind turbine

Applications to construct onshore wind farms continue to face resistance, with campaigners increasingly resorting to the courts. The most recent example is the high court’s decision to quash planning permission for a 34m turbine at Glascwm in Wales.

Permission for the turbine had been granted by Powys county council, but campaigners complained that the turbine was “inappropriate for such an unspoilt location”.

The Powys case follows similar successful legal challenges. In Christopher James Holder v Gedling borough council [2014] EWCA Civic 599, the court of appeal held that an objector to a 66m wind turbine in the Nottingham greenbelt had permission to appeal on the grounds that: permission could set a precedent for other wind turbine developments nearby; the turbine would not generate a significant amount of electricity; and the proposal would only benefit the applicant financially.

And, in Victoria Glynne Gregory and Welsh ministers [2013] EWHC 63 Admin, the high court agreed with campaigners that Anglesey county council’s decision to grant permission for a 40m turbine in an area of natural beauty was ill-considered and unlawful.

There are many common concerns in these decisions, including damage to landscape quality and the precedent for further applications. In the Powys case, campaigners also argued that the council had an overwhelming obligation to protect the area for “future generations”.

Yet wind farms and other forms of renewable energy are essential for future generations because they will help reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and mitigate climate change.

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