Campaigners against the controversial plans to build a 10-turbine wind farm in Ryedale are celebrating after a High Court Judge backed a previous decision to refuse planning permission.
Mr Justice Dove rejected the challenge brought by RWE Innogy Ltd, the energy company behind the proposal to erect the 126-metre high turbines at East Heslerton, in which it hoped the judge would order Secretary of State Eric Pickles to reconsider the application.
Ruling that the decision should stand, the judge found that the communities secretary had adequately explained his decision and that it was not irrational.
“I do not consider that there is any basis upon which it could be contended that the defendant’s decision in this case was irrational,” he said last week.
RWE Innogy had claimed that the secretary of state had unlawfully rejected its appeal against initial refusal by Ryedale District Council, but is now likely to face a legal costs bill from the Government’s lawyers.
At the time, Mr Pickles said the plans “would introduce a highly intrusive form of development, also ruling that the turbines would harm the view from the North Yorkshire Moors National Park as well as interfere with the enjoyment of heritage assets.
Campaigner Paul Stephens, of Moor Farm, West Heslerton, said: “The Heslerton Windfarm Action Group are delighted with the Judge’s decision to back the Communities Secretary’s overruling of this development.
“The democratic decision was made 18 months ago when the Ryedale councillors refused permission for this horrendous windfarm on our beautiful Yorkshire Wolds, reflecting the opinion of the majority of people in Ryedale.
“It is very wrong that developers can throw endless money at this development to try and overrule local opinion, purely for financial gain, without any thought about destroying our countryside.”
Cllr Linda Cowling, leader of Ryedale District Council, added: “I am extremely pleased with this decision. Whilst I am aware of the benefits of alternative forms of energy, those benefits have to be weighed against the negative impact on our landscape.
“We are a relatively small country with, by comparison, a high density of residents per hectare and the impact of wind farms on our communities cannot be underestimated.