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Appeal Denial: Ecotricity against Dover District Council  

Author:  | Aesthetics, England, Filings, Impacts, Noise

Inquiry held on 7-9 January, 13-16 January, 19-23 January and 9 and 10 February 2009

Site visits made on 11 and 12 February 2009

by Mr D Lavender MRTPI, an Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

Decision date: 16 March 2009

Appeal Ref: APP/X2220/A/08/2071880
Land west of Enifer Downs Farm and east of Archers Court Road and Little
Pineham Farm, Langdon.

• The appeal is made under section 78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 against a failure to give notice within the prescribed period of a decision on an application for planning permission.
• The appeal is by Ecotricity Group Ltd against Dover District Council.
• The application, Ref DOV/07/01148, is dated 15 August 2007.
• The proposal is for wind energy development comprising: erection of up to 5 wind turbines (maximum height 120m), together with access tracks, hardstanding areas, electricity sub-station and temporary construction compound.

Decision:

I dismiss the appeal and refuse planning permission for the development applied for.

The main issues described in the decision are:

1. Quantitative considerations
2. The approach to alternatives
3. The suitability of the local landscape to accommodate wind turbine development
4. The impact on aviation interests
5. The extent to which the proposed turbines would bear directly upon the environment and amenities enjoyed by local people who would experience the effects of their presence most closely, with particular regard to noise, flicker and visual impact; and
6. The effect of the proposal on cultural heritage interests, including locations of acknowledged scenic attraction.

‘The appeal site lies in an area of open countryside around which stand the settlements of West Langdon (about 1.2 km to the north of the nearest turbine), East Langdon (about 700 m to the east of the nearest turbine), Guston, about 1km from the nearest turbine) and Pineham (typically about 600m from the nearest turbine). The nearest individual properties to turbines include Enifer Downs farmhouse (360 m from turbine 5), Little Pineham Farm (430 m from turbine 4), and Langdon Court (479 m from turbine 1). None of the turbines would be more than 570 m from a dwelling. In all, the Parish Councils estimate there to be 100 dwellings within 820 m of any one turbine, reducing to 23 if turbine T1 is excluded. SP policy NR5 has a particular focus on avoiding or mitigating pollution impacts from development arising from, for example, noise, diminished levels of tranquillity and light intrusion. SP policy QL1 and LP policy DD1 extend general development control considerations safeguarding against un-neighbourly development to visual impact in its widest sense. …

‘In sum, notwithstanding the significant weight attached by paragraph 1(iv) of PPS22 to the wider environmental and economic benefits of proposals for renewable energy projects, and my finding that there is both need and landscape capacity for renewable energy generation in this part of Kent, important safeguards in National planning guidance and the statutory development plan have not, in this case, been satisfactorily met. I have considered all other matters raised at the Inquiry, including ecological, arboricultural and agricultural concerns but I find nothing to alter my conclusion that the scheme as put before me is unacceptable in policy, safety and environmental terms. It does not represent a sensitive approach to exploitation of renewable energy resources in this particular area of countryside and I therefore refuse planning permission for it.’

This article is the work of the author(s) indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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