A council fighting controversial plans for a wind farm off the North East coast today criticised as “unlawful” the failure of the Government to hold a public inquiry.
Lawyers fighting the case at the High Court in London said Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, John Hutton, was wrong not to direct a full inquiry.
Mr Hutton gave his consent for the construction of the farm by EDF Energy, last September, paving the way for 30 massive turbines to be built around a mile off the coast at Redcar.
But Redcar and Cleveland Council objects to the farm’s construction, following thousands of objections from residents opposed to the plans.
Today, lawyers representing the council launched a legal challenge to the Minister’s decision before Mr Justice Sullivan in a High Court hearing expected to last two days.
Geoffrey Stephenson, for the council, said Mr Hutton had acted “unlawfully” in failing to carry out his statutory duty to consider whether a public inquiry into the plans, which were several years old by the time they were given consent, was appropriate.
He added EDF’s application for consent was “invalid” as it was only for part of a “generating station”, not including the vital on-shore sub-station, transformers and cabling.
The law permits only applications for whole stations, meaning the Minister’s grant of consent was “invalid”, he argued.
The wind farm plans involve 30 turbines, up to 132 metres above the high-water mark, standing in rows of ten, approximately 300 metres apart.
Objectors say the turbines would be too close to the shoreline and could overwhelm the town.
By Elaine Blackburne
30 June 2008
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