A couple have lost a last ditch court bid to halt plans for a controversial South Lakeland wind farm.
The Appeal Court threw out a legal challenge mounted by Rebecca and Brian Barnes against the six-turbine Armistead farm at Old Hutton.
The pair claimed it would blight the landscape, cause a noise nuisance and put their three children at risk.
They sought leave to appeal a High Court judge’s refusal to quash a Government inspector’s 2009 decision to grant planning permission However, Lord Justice Sullivan ruled there was ‘no substance’ in any of the couple’s grounds of challenge to the decision.
After the case, Mr Barnes said: “We are very upset by the decision, which has left us worrying what the future now holds. Only time will tell the full impact that this windfarm will have on us and the other closest residents.
“It will certainly no longer be a beautiful place to live.”
Mr and Mrs Barnes, who are part of the Countryside Protection Consortium of South Lakes (CPCSL), had argued that, when assessing the amenity impact on their home, the inspector considered only their farmhouse, which would be 600 metres away from the nearest turbine, rather than the whole of their land, on which they work and their children play every day.
Last July, High Court Judge George Bartlett QC supported the inspector’s view that the impact of the windfarm was outweighed by the ‘considerable quantity of electricity (that would be) generated from a renewable source’.
Backing that ruling, Appeal Court judge Lord Justice Sullivan ruled that the inspector was ‘perfectly entitled’ to adopt the approach he did, and that the couple’s arguments on appeal were largely an attempt to re-argue the merits of the case.
He said: “I am satisfied that there is no substance in any of these grounds of challenge.
“And I would express concern that in very large part, if not entirely, they are in fact an attempt to have a second bite of the cherry.”
CPCSL vice-chairman Dr Mike Hall said: “The people of South Lakeland have fought a courageous battle to save what they hold dear.
“At the end of the day they have been let down by a system which is too heavily slanted towards wind farm development in the pursuit of meaningless targets.”
Phil Dyke, development director of Banks Renewables, the company behind the project, said: “We are very pleased that the Court of Appeal has found that the decision to grant planning permission was legally sound and correct. South Lakeland District Council’s planning officers originally recommended the scheme for approval when we first put it forward for planning permission as far back as early 2008, and it is disappointing that we have had to go to such lengths to finalise approval for what is a carefully planned and important scheme.”
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