Powys Campaigners Win Turbine Legal Battle

Planning Permission for Turbine Quashed By Court – But 34m High Turbine Left Standing


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

Campaigners fighting to conserve the natural beauty of the Powys landscape and prevent ‘inappropriate’ wind turbines from being erected  have welcomed a court order quashing the decision to grant planning permission for a 34-m high wind turbine.

Powys County Council granted planning permission for the turbine in March this year. But before the Council had made their final decision the land owner in Glascwm had already built the structure without permission.

Campaigners objecting to the planning application had sought legal advice from environmental law specialists at Irwin Mitchell as they were concerned about the development in an unspoilt location. They argued that the development would be inappropriate because of:
• The impact on the landscape
• The effect on the local economy including tourism
• The precedent for further applications
• Noise nuisance
• Biodiversity, including the impacts on birds such as buzzards and kites
• and the overriding obligation for the council to protect the area for future generations.

The High Court has now quashed the decision following the council’s admission that there was no indication of whether environmental information relating to the development had been taken into account.

It is now up to the Council to take enforcement action and campaigners and their lawyers have called on the local authority to take the necessary steps to deal with the turbine.

Fifty-three local residents and businesses and the Campaign for the Protection Rural Wales (CPRW) had raised concerns as soon as the application was made.

The background for this action was that the planning officer’s report advised rejection but the committee rejected the advice and granted planning permission on 23rd January 2014.  In response  to the objections of the campaigners, it was decided that the application should be brought back to the committee prior to issuing a decision notice.

Despite no decision notice having been issued, the developer began to build the footings and ancillary structures on site. Irwin Mitchell wrote to the Council on behalf of campaigners several times over the following month, highlighting flaws in the information put forward during the planning application but despite this there seemed to be no attempt to amend the errors in process.

The committee then granted planning permission once again on 20th March and published the decision a week later.

Since the structure was erected there have been numerous complaints made by neighbours due to the noise problems.   A buzzard was struck on the first day of operation of the turbine and suffered a broken wing

After the legal challenge by Irwin Mitchell the High Court has now quashed that decision

Justin Neal, a specialist environmental lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Mr Oliver, said:

John Oliver, on behalf of the objectors said: “While I recognise the need for action on climate change and the hardship of local farmers, this development is completely inappropriate for such an unspoilt location. All through the planning stages we have contributed views on behalf of concerned residents about the turbine’s location and size and the way the planning process was being handled.

“The development is sited at Glascwm in Powys - an historically, environmentally and archaeologically sensitive location within a landscape of extraordinary tranquillity and beauty and attracts visitors from far afield including walkers and riders.

“I felt I had no choice but to take formal legal action and challenge the planning permission and I am relieved that the court has found in our favour. I just hope now that the Council will be willing to take the difficult decisions that are now necessary.”

This latest ruling follows another similar situation earlier this year in which Irwin Mitchell successfully challenged Powys County Council through the Judicial Review process after concerns about another wind turbine application and the impact on tourism and landscape.

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in Environmental Law.