Wind farm develops use new planning laws to challenge local turbine ban

June 29, 2012 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

RWE told the council its rules are against the Government’s “national policy”
in a letter sent by its City law firm Eversheds.

The company argues the local policy is “unlawful” because the Coalition’s
National Planning Policy Framework encourages generation of green energy
where possible.

It claims the council’s view should be “accorded no weight” in any decision
making process, as it has “no rational basis”.

The letter also challenges the council to take back its decision or risk “a
considerable burden to the public purse” in legal fees.

Campaigners yesterday called the company’s move a “direct threat to local
democracy”.

Mark Lancaster, MP for Milton Keynes North, said the developers should not be
trying to undermine the wishes of a local community.

He said: “Having voted in favour of the Localism Act because of its ability to
empower and encourage decision making at a local level, it will come as no
surprise that I am deeply concerned and opposed to a large multinational
business trying to undermine its intent and wishes of local residents by
threatening the council with legal action.”

Richard Pryor, a resident of Milton Keynes, said he was shocked that RWE are
“attempting to bully the council into ignoring a democratic process”.

He said the majority of people backed the ban on wind turbines too close to
housing in the council’s public consultation”.

“The new policy would not be a blanket ban on wind turbines in Milton Keynes,
but would ensure industrial wind turbines are sited away from homes,” he
said. “It is entirely appropriate for a local authority to introduce
policies that protect its residents”.

Under the policy, Milton Keynes wants to make sure small wind turbines less
than 25m high are 350 metres away from housing, medium-sized ones are 1
kilometre away and typical large ones are 1.2km away.

Wayne Cranstone, project director for RWE npower renewables, said the national
policy “urges local planning authorities to maximise the generation of
renewable energy whilst ensuring an appropriate level of protection for
residential occupiers”.

“Effect on the occupiers of a home close to a wind farm have to be judged on a
case by case basis,” he said. “It is not simply a case of prescribed
distances. Many other factors such as size of the wind farm, orientation of
the property, topography and local screening are all very important. There
is no hard evidence to justify such a restriction on renewable developments.”

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