June 28, 2014
Judge throws out appeal for controversial Huntspill wind farm plans

Controversial proposals for a wind farm near Burnham-On-Sea were dealt a further blow by a High Court judge on Friday (June 27th), delighting campaigners fighting the scheme.

Green energy firm Ecotricity wanted to install four wind turbines at West Huntspill, but its scheme was turned down by Sedgemoor District Council and the company appealed to the Planning Inspectorate, which held an inquiry last year.

The inspector concluded that the turbines should be put up, but Secretary of State Eric Pickles over-ruled that recommendation and threw out the plans earlier this year.

However, Ecotricty appealed against the Secretary of State's decision to over rule the Planning Inspectorate's recommendation and refuse the application.

A hearing was held at the High Court in London on Friday when the judge dismissed Ecotricity's appeal, saying there was no case to overturn the Secretary of State's decision.

Julie Trott, pictured, who has long campaigned against the plans in her role on the Huntspill Wind Farm Action Group, told she was "delighted" by the judgement.

"I and many residents are absolutely delighted by this decision which is the right decision for our area," she said.

Sedgemoor district councillor Bob Filmer, who chairs the council's planning committee, told he too is pleased with the outcome.

"The court's decision endorses the local view of Sedgemoor District Council and the judgement of Eric Pickles in turning down the scheme. It's great news for those residents who were concerned by the plans."

Residents in Rooksbridge are now waiting to see whether the court ruling has any impact on the Planning Inspectorate's consideraion of the Pilrow Farm wind farm site.

In a letter from the Department of Communities and Local Government, the Secretary of State said earlier this year he was turning down the Black Ditch plans because they would have had a "significant adverse impact on local landscape character, scenic quality and distinctive landscape features".

He added that while the scheme "offers a considerable benefit" in meeting the need for renewable energy, "the harm that this scheme would cause to the landscape and visual impact" outweighed the benefits.


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