Environmental Lawyers Demand More Clarity Regarding Windfarm Permission Plans

Reaction To Government Plans After Successful Challenge Of Staffordshire Development

07.07.2015

Specialist lawyers who have helped campaign groups across England and Wales to take a stand against the construction of wind turbines in their areas have warned that more clarity is needed regarding new Government plans to place decision-making on major windfarms into the hands of local councils.

Environmental lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have acted for a number of concerned residents including one who recently took action against the planned erection of a turbine at Lask Edge in Staffordshire, with a court ruling in April that the planning inspector who approved the plans did not apply the correct tests when granting permission.

The case is one of several which the national law firm has been successfully involved in across recent months, including legal challenges in Staffordshire, Powys, Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire.

Now, the experts are calling for clarification of Government plans to give the final say on large windfarm developments in England and Wales to local councils. According to the specialists, clarity is needed regarding how the changes will ultimately work and also what will be done to ensure local authorities are equipped to properly scrutinise applications.

The latest case in which Irwin Mitchell’s specialists have been involved related to a wind turbine development in Staffordshire.

While Biddulph Town Council, Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, and the local community, opposed the plans due to the impact on green belt land, a Government planning inspector approved the development on appeal, stating that benefits would outweigh the impact.

Irwin Mitchell was instructed by local resident Hal Wilson to challenge the decision

The High Court ruled the approval for the wind turbine should be quashed due to the inspector failing to apply the National Planning Policy Framework. It was also stated the inspector did not give adequate reasons regarding the benefits outweighing damage to the greenbelt.

Mr Wilson commented, ''The stress, anxiety and heartache which this application has caused cannot be adequately quantified. They need to be sited in the right place for the right reasons taking into account the impact on local communities.”