An environmental campaign group is to launch a legal challenge over controversial plans to build two wind turbines on the Suffolk coast.
The Suffolk Preservation Society (SPS), which works to promote sensitive and sustainable development in the county, has joined forces with groups from across Waveney to begin judicial review proceedings after proposals for two 125m turbines in Kessingland were given the go-ahead earlier this year.
A planning inspector gave the green light to Lowestoft-based SLP’s plans for the two turbines, which will be sited at the Africa Alive wildlife park and a site further west next to the A12, in May after Waveney District Council was criticised for taking too long to make a decision.
The appeal announcement comes just days after the government revealed proposals to build thousands of turbines across the UK as part of its strategy to provide 15pc of energy through renewable sources by 2020.
It is the first time the society has launched a legal challenge against a planning decision. Director Richard Ward said: “This is the first time the society has become involved in a judicial review – but it certainly isn’t a route we would be afraid to follow in future.
“We will be looking very closely at the decisions made by planning authorities across the county and challenging them if and when it is appropriate.
“It is essential that Suffolk’s unique urban and rural environment is protected and judicial review is another tool we can use to help ensure the county remains special.”
Opponents of the scheme warned that the turbines, which would cost £4m and power 4,000 homes, would create a blot on the landscape of the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which runs south from Lowestoft to the River Stour, and that the inspector’s decision was not well reasoned and so could lead to confusion with future applications for wind turbines.
The inspector’s decision to approve the Kessingland turbines said that the government’s commitment to renewable energy sources would on occasions take precedence over the protection of the landscape, but Mr Ward said that local opposition has been over-ruled.
“It is essential that local views should be taken into account during the planning process. Legal action is another way of ensuring those views are heard,” he said.
30 June 2008
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