May 27, 2011

Landowner loses appeal on giant wind farm plan in North Devon 27 May 2011

A landowner’s fight to block construction of nine giant wind turbines in North Devon has finally ended in defeat at the hands of Appeal Court judges.

Michael Hulme has been at the forefront of the marathon legal struggle to stop the wind farm being built at Den Brook, near Tawton.

He and other local residents have expressed concerns that the noise of generators and the swishing of turbine blades will disturb the rural peace, and their sleep.

The first planning permission granted for the scheme was overturned after a court challenge but, after an enormously costly 13-day public inquiry in 2009, a Government planning inspector again authorised RES Developments Ltd to go through with the scheme.

At the Appeal Court in London, Mr Hulme argued that the planning permission should again be quashed.

Conditions attached to the consent, restricting the noise from “blade swish”, were unenforceable and inadequate to protect local residents, he argued.

His lawyers argued that the vaguely drafted conditions included no “effective mechanism” for policing noise levels and, as that issue went to the heart of the matter, the whole planning permission should be overturned for a second time.

However, dismissing his appeal, Lord Justice Elias, sitting with Lord Justice Mummery and Lord Justice Patten, said Mr Hulme’s argument was based on “a bizarre and not a benevolent construction” of the planning condition.

Although he acknowledged the condition could have been better drafted, he said it did impose an enforceable obligation on RES Developments to keep noise levels to an acceptable level throughout the 25-year duration of the planning permission.

URL to article: