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High Court judge throws out wind farm

A High Court judge has thrown out a developer’s appeal over a wind farm that campaigners say would have “destroyed” a swathe of the Yorkshire Wolds.

Mr Justice Dove rejected the challenge brought by RWE Innogy Ltd, the energy company behind the proposal to erect 10 126 metre high turbines at East Heslerton Wold, East Heslerton, Ryedale.

He found that Community Secretary Eric Pickles’ decision to reject the proposal could not be argued on any basis to be “irrational”.

Members of Ryedale District Council’s planning committee had thrown the plans out after the authority received 380 letters of objection, but it was later taken to appeal.

Planning inspector Paul Jackson then ruled in favour of the development, only to be overturned by Mr Pickles. The Secretary of State has intervened in 52 onshore wind projects since last June, and is said to have had a refusal rate of 88 per cent on those on which he has made a decision so far.

RWE Innogy said the continuing run of planning refusals was damaging investor confidence, and would prevent inward investment into North Yorkshire of up to £23m and £2m in local community projects during the life of the wind farm.

However Paul Stephens of Moor Farm, West Heslerton, whose farm would have bordered the development site, said it was frustrating that the system allowed developers to continue to “throw money” in appeals, when they didn’t get their way.

He said: “It would have been a big carbuncle, it would have been horrendous. There has been a definite change of heart in the Goverment, probably 12 months ago. I think a lot is driven by UKIP which is clearly totally anti-wind farm.”