REDCAR and Cleveland Borough Council has suffered a stinging defeat in its High Court bid to block plans for a massive wind farm off the North-East coast.
Council lawyers argued at London’s High Court that Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, John Hutton, had been wrong not to direct a full public inquiry before giving the go-ahead to the ambitious power generation scheme.
Mr Hutton gave his consent for the construction of the farm by EDF Energy, last September, paving the way for 30 enormous turbines to be built around a mile off the coast at Redcar.
However, the council went to court after receiving thousands of objections from local residents opposed to the wind farm which, they fear, could be an overpowering eyesore.
However, after a costly, two-day, High Court hearing, Mr Justice Sullivan, today dismissed the council’s judicial review challenge.
He said: “I am fundamentally of the view that this application must be rejected. The mere assertion that a wind farm may spoil the outlook generally, and may effect the value of property, is not a sufficient basis on which a challenge can be based.
“In this case, the principle issue, visual impact, is very much a matter of judgment and whether that visual impact would be outweighed by national energy policy”.
He said Mr Hutton had “ample material”, in the form of a “very comprehensive report”, on which he based his decision and had taken into account all factors he was obliged to.
The judge will give more detailed reasons for his decision at a later date.
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.
But objectors say the turbines would be too close to the shoreline, could overwhelm the town and are bound to impact on local property prices.
1 July 2008
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