In the news: securing secretary of state backing for a wind farm refusal

Written by: Jez Abbot
Published on: 5 Jun 2014


Communities secretary Eric Pickles recently overruled a planning inspector and blocked a proposal for a wind farm of up to ten turbines in Yorkshire.

Ryedale District Council originally refused permission for the scheme involving turbines which would have stood up to 126m high. The case went to public inquiry, where a planning inspector recommended the development be approved. However Pickles overruled the decision because of the scheme's “intrusive” nature.

His letter highlighted the scale, vertical emphasis, number of turbines and prominence on the horizon, which would “seriously undermine” the landscape features. Ryedale District Council development manager Shaun Robson dealt with the application.

Q What has been your personal involvement in the project?

A I was the case officer, considered the application and pulled together the report with help from my team.

Q What have been the most important elements of the work that you have done?

A A really important part was trying to hit the right balance between fostering and encouraging renewable energy with the flip side, which is the knock-on affect on the surrounding countryside. Fortunately, I had good back up on the policy side from my team who offered all-important peer review.

Q What have been the biggest challenges and how have you overcome them?

A One of the biggest was making sure the report came across as balanced and objective. This involved taking into consideration views of interest and focus groups and those of the developer without losing sight of statutory requirements. We engaged a consultant to go through landscape and visual impact assessments to make sure our take was right in terms of guidance, procedures and regulations.