A High Court decision to deny a legal challenge to a controversial windfarm, because it was lodged 24 hours late, has been branded “extremely disappointing”.
The remarks were made by Clwyd West AM Darren Millar after Mr Justice Lindblom ruled he had “no jurisdiction” to hear the case.
Local resident Michael Williams had sought a judicial review against a decision to allow RWE Innogy UK to erect up to 32, 145m high turbines in nearby Clocaenog Forest, by UK energy secretary Ed Davey last September.
Mr Williams had until October 23 last year – six weeks from the initial announcement by the energy secretary – to instigate his legal challenge but submitted his paperwork a day late.
“This is an extremely disappointing ruling,” said Mr Millar. “A lot of campaigners have been pinning their hopes on the judge giving a fair ruling.
“The local communities that have been affected by this decision will feel let down by this ruling.
“Whilst I have every respect for the judiciary, I am sure lots of my constituents will feel this ruling is unfair.”
Mr Justice Lindblom had already heard the case over two days at Mold Crown Court in February and had reserved judgement in the case before legal representatives of RWE Innogy made their technical legal challenge to the application.
As Mr Williams had lodged his claim a day later than legally permitted the judge had not choice but to rule the judicial review out.
He said : “The period of six weeks specified as the time within which a claim for judicial review of a development consent order must be issued is not flexible or indefinite.
“It is fixed and certain. And it has the force of statute. The claim must be filed within the period of six weeks ‘beginning with’ the day on which the order is published.
“A claim issued out of time, even one day out of time, is too late and beyond the reach of the court’s jurisdiction.
The court has no discretion to extend time.”
The £100m development is now clear to go ahead on the 1,580 hectare site which, according to the RWE Innogy, will benefit the local community to the tune of £768,000 per year via a community benefit fund.
The construction of the site could create more than 230 jobs and create as much as £40m in business for the local supply chain. The development has withstood strong local opposition not just because of the near 500ft turbines.
Controversial wooden pylons to carry power cables overland from the windfarm to a substation near St Asaph, also spawned objections and a campaigning Facebook page.
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