Controversial proposals for a wind farm near Burnham-On-Sea were thrown out by the High Court on Tuesday (April 28th), delighting campaigners fighting the scheme.
Green energy firm Ecotricity wanted to build a farm of huge wind turbines at Black Ditch in West Huntspill, as pictured in the photomontage above.
Campaigners told Burnham-On-Sea.com they are “pleased and relieved” that the long-running plans have been finally thrown out by the High Court in London after five years of discussions.
The scheme was initially turned down by Sedgemoor District Council but the company appealed to the Planning Inspectorate, which held an inquiry in 2013.
The inspector concluded that the turbines should be built, but Secretary of State Eric Pickles over-ruled that recommendation and threw out the plans in 2014.
Ecotricity appealed against the Secretary of State’s decision to over rule the Planning Inspectorate’s recommendation. A hearing was held at the High Court in London last year when the judge dismissed Ecotricity’s appeal.
But then in a final, last-ditch attempt to get the decision by the Secretary of State reversed, Ecotricity appealed to the High Court again, prompting this week’s hearing.
Ecotricity argued that the Secretary of State shouldn’t have over-ruled the inspector without visiting the site, but the judge said he in fact had all the information needed to make a decision. A further claim that the Secretary of State had not interpreted the planning policy correctly was also turned down this week.
A spokeswoman for the Huntspill Wind Farm Action Group, which has long campaigned against the plans, told Burnham-On-Sea.com on Tuesday evening (April 28th): “We are very pleased that the appeal has been dismissed. It is highly likely that this ends the campaign to blight our countryside in this location at least.”
“Many residents in this area will be hugely relieved by this decision, which will hopefully end a five-year battle to stop the proposals.”
Local resident Bob Filmer added: “I’m very pleased by this news, which is the right decision locally and nationally. I’m hopeful that it is the final hurdle for this site and that it is gives some clarity to the position.”
Meanwhile, separate plans for five wind turbines from EDF Energy at nearby Withy End are still under consideration by Sedgemoor District Council.