Wind Turbine Appeal Successful in Court of Appeal

In March the High Court quashed the decision of a planning inspector who had given the green light for the wind turbine on Poplars Farm in Wappenham, South Northamptonshire.

The High Court decision followed a challenge by Jane Mordue, chair of Wappenham Wind Turbine Action Group, to the decision of the inspector.

The challenge was allowed by deputy judge John Howell QC who quashed the inspector’s decision.

But yesterday three judges at the Court of Appeal in London reversed that decision.

In his decision, deputy judge Howell said he considered the development, which was originally refused by South Northamptonshire Council, would make only a small contribution to the government objective of meeting the effects of climate change.

The planning inspector had ruled that the harm the wind turbine would cause to the landscape and heritage assets in the area was outweighed by its environmental benefits of renewable energy.

And yesterday Lords Justices Richards, Floyd and Sales sided with the inspector. They accepted that the wind turbine would impinge to a certain extent on views of the Church of St Mary in Wappenharn which is a Grade II listed building.

They said it would also affect to a very limited degree the setting of other listed buildings including The Manor at Wappenham, which is close to the Church of St Mary, and the Church of St Botolph at Slapton, which is some distance away.

But in allowing the challenge by the farm owner, Aidan Jones, against the High Court ruling, Lord Justice Sales said: “The inspector was lawfully entitled to assess that the harm to the setting of the listed buildings identified and discussed by him was outweighed by the environmental benefits from the turbine.”

It may appear that common sense has finally prevailed (albeit taking three Lords Justice to illustrate the point!), but there is further scope for this ruling to continue to the Supreme Court on a point of law.  Regardless, the time (and cost) taken to establish this principle may all come to nothing in the face of the commercial changes to the FiT proposed by the government.

If you have a contentions decision to pursue or if you will miss critical ROC or FiT deadlines as a result of delays get in touch to see how we can help.

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Jones v Mordue & Ors. Case Number: C1/2015/1067

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