Communities secretary Greg Clark has overruled an inspector to reject plans for four turbines in the east of England, citing 'non-compliance' with new rules requiring wind applications to have community backing among his reasons for blocking the proposal.
The refusal is the second time this month that the secretary of state has cited the strict new rules requiring onshore wind applications to address the planning impacts identified by affected local communities in a decision letter.
Energy firm REG Windpower’s application to build four wind turbines to the north-east of Peterborough had been called in for determination by the secretary of state in June 2014.
Following an inquiry, inspector John Braithwaite recommended that planning permission be granted. But in his decision letter, Clark said that he disagreed with the inspector’s conclusions and recommendations.
Clark’s decision letter said that the secretary of state "attaches considerable weight to the significant adverse effect that the proposal would have on the character and visual amenity of the landscape as well as to residential amenity of some neighbouring properties in respect of outlook".
The decision letter added that Clark had given "significant weight" to "non-compliance" with new tests for local authorities to apply when determining applications for wind energy development, set out in a written ministerial statement issued in June.
Under transitional arrangements set out in the written statement, permission may be granted if local planning authorities are satisfied that the proposal has "addressed the planning impacts identified by affected local communities and therefore has their backing".
Clark’s decision letter said that he "is not satisfied that the planning impacts identified by affected local communities have been addressed".
He said that, in response to a letter sent in June 2015, "several members of the affected communities have related the concerns which they expressed previously about the planning impacts of the scheme", including harm to the residential amenity of some neighbouring properties and the character and visual amity of the landscape".
Earlier this month, Clark refused permission for a scheme comprising ten wind turbines in Lincolnshire. His decision letter said that he "is not satisfied that the planning impacts identified by affected local communities have been addressed"