The national drive for more sources of renewable energy was very much in evidence as a High Court decision condemned residents of a rural area to live with views of a 67-metre high wind turbine which were acknowledged to be ‘very unpleasant’.

A planning officer had reported to the relevant local authority that the turbine would harm the visual and residential amenities of those living nearby. However, in recommending that consent be granted, he stated that local views would not be ‘solely dominated’ by the turbine and that the sight of it would not be ‘overwhelmingly unpleasant’. Homes nearby would not be rendered ‘unattractive or unsatisfactory places in which to live’.

Planning permission was duly granted. However, one resident, who had for 40 years lived only 400 metres from the proposed site of the turbine, mounted a legal challenge against the decision.

The High Court upheld the permission, subject to minor guarantees regarding the scale of the development.

Despite the fact that moving the turbine and its ancillary equipment along winding country lanes to the site is expected to involve more than 100 heavy lorry movements, the Court found that the council had properly considered the ecological and habitat impacts on the route. It concluded that councillors had neither misunderstood nor been misled about the harm that the development would cause, and arguments that consent should not have been granted without a full Environmental Impact Assessment were rejected.


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