November 27, 2014

Uncertainty over future of turbines plan at Brightenber

By Lesley Tate, Senior Reporter | Craven Herald & Pioneer | November 27, 2014 |

An unprecedented third planning appeal into the building of wind turbines at Brightenber Hill, near Gargrave, could take place following a successful legal challenge.

Energie Kontor UK challenged July’s decision by the Planning Inspectorate to uphold Craven District Council’s refusal to build three 328ft (100m) high turbines.

A judicial review was due to take place next Friday at the High Court in Leeds (dec 5), but is now unlikely to take place after it appears the inspectorate decided against contesting the challenge.

Paul Shevlin, chief executive of Craven District Council, a co-defendant, said it was now up to the inspectorate to decide where to go with the appeal.

“I have signed the consent order and it will now be up to the Planning Inspectorate to say how it intends to deal with the planning appeal,” he said.

Skipton MP Julian Smith, a long term opposer of the Brightenber turbines, blamed the wording of the inspectorate’s inspector’s decision for the successful challenge.

‘I am extremely disappointed that what appears to be poor drafting of the inspector’s adjudication has led to the defence being dropped.

“This case has dragged on for far too long causing unnecessary stress to my constituents.”

It was six years ago that the first plan for five turbines on the farmland was first submitted by Energie Kontor. It was refused by the council and by the inspectorate, along with a second application for three turbines.

Mr Smith added: “I am in touch with the local community and have already met with ministers at Westminster to raise my concerns. I will continue to work to ensure that I do everything I can to help the community resist this unwanted blight on our local landscape.”

Chris Emmett, spokesman for campaign group, Friends of Craven Landscape, said; “We are not too concerned about the Secretary of State’s decision to concede the Judicial Review. Energie Kontor contended only that the Inspector’s failure to use the words, ‘significant and demonstrable’ rendered her report legally flawed, and that reason alone, the case will now go back to the Planning Inspectorate for review.

He added that the group remained convinced that Brightenber Hill was the wrong place for a wind farm.

The Planning Inspectorate was not in a position to confirm whether next week’s Judicial Review would be cancelled.

Energie Kontor did not wish to comment, but has said in the past that it believes the assessments of the two planning inspectors differ.

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