One of the country’s top judges has been called in to decide a test case legal battle over plans for a 10-turbine wind farm which it is claimed would impact on a Grade I listed church and the North Yorkshire Moors National Park.
Now though the energy company which is fighting for permission to erect the 126 metre turbines at East Heslerton Wold, East Heslerton, Ryedale, must wait to hear the judge’s verdict after a hearing at London’s High Court.
Mr Justice Dove has reserved judgment in the case and will give his decision in writing later.
The case is one which will be watched by both energy companies and local authorities as it may give fresh guidance on the legal stance to be taken over wind farms in sensitive areas.
RWE Innogy Ltd has asked the judge to quash the decision of Communities Secretary Eric Pickles to refuse it planning permission for the turbines.
It wants him to order Mr Pickles to reconsider the application and give it a fresh chance at securing planning permission for the wind farm.
RWE Innogy says that the Secretary of State unlawfully rejected its appeal against initial refusal by Ryedale District Council, despite his own planning inspector recommending that permission be granted.
The Secretary of State expressed greater concern than his inspector over the impact the development would have on the nearby North Yorkshire Moors National Park and the grade I listed St Andrew’s church in East Heslerton.
He reached the conclusion that the total environmental effects of the scheme could not be made acceptable.
But RWE Innogy says that he failed to take into account all the evidence, that he reached a “perverse” decision, and that he failed to give adequate reasons to explain it.
However, lawyers for the Government argued that the Secretary of State was entitled to depart from his inspector’s recommendation, and that the decision was lawful and should stand.
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