In deciding to reject a recommendation from one of his inspectors that a 102 metre high wind turbine in Buckinghamshire should be allowed, the secretary of state, after recovering the appeal, held that the government’s written ministerial statement in June 105 supported his rejection of the scheme.
In agreeing with his inspector that the turbine would not be a significant defining characteristic of the national landscape character area within which it would be located, the secretary of state nonetheless held that within three kilometres of the structure the impact would be moderate in magnitude. The impact on the setting of the Chilterns AONB would also be significant, contrary to paragraph 115 of the NPPF. The turbine and its rotating blades would be visible in long and extensive panoramic views and while the overall harm would be minor this should be given moderate weight given the government’s commitment to maintaining the natural beauty of such areas. Such harm conflicted with the statutory duty to conserve AONBs.
Very careful consideration was given to the inspector’s conclusions regarding the impact on heritage assets. Some harm would result but this would be less than substantial. No significant adverse impact on tourism activities would arise nor on equine activities in the locality. Some harm would arise in respect of local residents in terms of visual amenity and outlook.
Taking all matters into the planning balance the secretary of state decided that the appellant had not demonstrated that the planning impacts identified by the affected communities had been addressed. The local community had outstanding concerns including harm to the landscape such that any contribution towards addressing climate change and producing renewable electricity were insufficient to make the scheme sustainable.
Inspector: George Baird; Inquiry
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