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Legal challenge over turbine ‘buffer zone’

A legal challenge has been launched by a wind farm company against gainst Milton Keynes Council’s turbine policy.

In July the council’s decision-making cabinet adopted a Supplementary Planning Document which proposed changing the distance between turbines and the nearest houses from 350 metres to a kilometre.

RWE Npower Renewables warned that this could leave the authority open to a legal challenge and last week the High Court granted them permission to proceed with its claim for a Judicial Review.

Wayne Cranstone, RWE’s onshore development and projects director, said: “If councils can introduce flawed and onerous planning policies without proper scrutiny then this is likely to have a detrimental affect on the UK onshore wind industry.

“It is crucial we obtain clarity on this matter. It is very difficult for the industry to operate successfully when so much uncertainty prevails.”

But the council is standing firmly behind its policy. Council leader Andrew Geary said: “We owe it to citizens of Milton Keynes to defend this policy. We have had a huge reaction from residents and most support this planning doccument.

“It is dreadful that this could cost the taxpayer but this has been bought about by a company that don’t care about green energy, all they care about is profit.”

If RWE win the court case Milton Keynes could see wind farms built between Haversham and Little Linford and between the villages of Bozeat, Harrold and Lavendon.

Mark Lancaster, MP for Milton Keynes North, said: “It is my understanding that the introduction of the SDP’s saw the council attempting to update old policies. It flies in the face of localism that the financial gain of a multinational company should interfere with our council trying to do its job and protect its residents.”