Legal brief: Court quashes Pickles' decision

7th July 2014

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Luke Morley

The High court has overturned a decision by the communities and local government secretary, Eric Pickles, to refuse planning permission for a 24MW solar farm at a disused airfield in Suffolk.

Justice Lindblom described as “perverse” Pickles’ decision in October 2013 to reject an application by Lark Energy for the farm, despite approval by the local planning authority.

Lindblom said the secretary of state had not performed his duty under s38(6) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, and that the decision to reject the application showed “substantial prejudice” to the company. Waveney district council turned down Lark Energy’s original application, forcing the firm to split the application in two.

It received consent for a smaller 14MW scheme, which has since been constructed and connected to the grid. The recent court ruling also refused the secretary of state leave to appeal.

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