Our specialist environmental law team have helped a campaigner from Llandyfrydog overturn a Planning Inspector’s decision to build wind turbines in Anglesey. The twin 50KW turbines, measuring 40m in height, were to be built within 400m of residential homes, including our clients’ – Mrs Victoria Gregory. This has been the subject of campaigning for over a year by both Victoria and campaigning group Anglesey Against Wind Turbines.
Despite the threat of noise to nearby homes and the proximity to an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the Isle of Anglesey County Council decided in their “screening opinion” that an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was unnecessary. But they delayed in reaching a final decision on whether to grant planning permission, at which point the developer appealed. On October 25, the Planning Inspector granted permission through the written procedure without a public inquiry.
Concerned by this, Mrs Gregory approached us for help and was represented by Anthony Crean QC in court. It was argued that the Planning Inspector had acted beyond his powers and the correct procedure on whether an EIA was needed had not been followed. The High Court Judge found this to be true and the Planning Inspector’s decision was reversed.
Happy with the outcome, Mrs Gregory said “I am very grateful for the support and advice from Irwin Mitchell in winning this case which means so much to me and to other campaigners in Anglesey Against Wind Turbines. A development of this size in such an unspoilt part of Anglesey in open countryside with cluster of six listed buildings and so close to an AONB, would have changed the historical and natural environment for good. There would also be health implications for my family and other local residents due to the noise associated with such turbines”.
Dr Justin Neal, the environmental law specialist that worked on the case, added “we all agree that green energy is important given the current threat of climate change. But that does not mean that planning bodies such as the Planning Inspectorate or Local Planning Authorities should push such applications through without proper scrutiny. Here the case turned on whether the Inspector should have sent the application to the Welsh Ministers for a screening direction. However, there are also a number of questions which remain over the way the council has handled this application - and indeed why such a development should be allowed so close to family homes and an AONB".
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