A COUNCIL fighting controversial plans for a wind farm off the coast says the failure of the Government to hold a public inquiry is unlawful.
Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council is challenging the consent to build 30 turbines just over a mile off Coatham Sands, Redcar.
The authority decided to press for a judicial review after John Hutton, the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, gave energy company EDF Energy, which is behind the project, approval for the scheme without calling for a public inquiry.
Council leader George Dunning said the council supported renewable energy, but said it must represent the views of 6,500 local people who signed a petition against the scheme.
He said: “The residents of this borough strongly oppose this scheme and have expressed concerns about the detrimental impact of 30 huge wind turbines so close to the shoreline at Redcar. It is our duty to make sure their voices are properly heard.”
The plans involve 30 turbines, up to 132 metres above the high water mark, in rows of ten about 300 metres apart.
Yesterday, lawyers at the High Court, in London, told Mr Justice Sullivan the Government was wrong not to direct a full inquiry.
Geoffrey Stephenson, for the council, said Mr Hutton acted unlawfully in failing to carry out his duty to consider whether a public inquiry into the plans was appropriate.
He said: “The duty for the Secretary of State is to consider for himself whether a public inquiry is appropriate, and it matters not that it has not been requested.
He said EDF’s application was invalid because it was only for part of a generating station, not including the vital on-shore sub-station, transformers and cabling.
He said the law permitted only applications for whole stations. He also said a civil servant visited the site and made comments to colleagues suggesting it was too close to the shore, but they were never put before the minister.
The judge is expected to reserve his judgement on the case until a later date.
EDF Energy chief executive Vincent de Rivaz said: “EDF Energy has a long-term commitment to maintaining a diverse and sustainable energy mix. Diversity is crucial to address climate change, for security of supply and to provide competitively priced electricity.
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