FARMERS hoping to build a wind turbine to provide electricity for an organic dairy farm have received another blow after their appeal against its rejection was dismissed.
Mr and Mrs Arthur Badham, of Badham Farms, have appealed to The Planning Inspectorate last year after East Staffordshire Borough Council’s planning committee rejected the application for a 32 metre high wind turbine at Woodland Hall Farm, in Wood Lane, Uttoxeter.
The applicant was hoping to use the new turbine for diversification on the farm to produce bottled spring water and said some of the electricity may also be exported to the National Grid.
The farm already had one small 15kW turbine on the site and also had planning permission for a second 50kW one – which is similar to the device subject of the appeal. The second turbine has not yet been built on the farm.
The reason it was first refused was due to the impact it would have on the landscape for residents in Uttoxeter which the committee decided would outweigh the renewable energy benefits of the turbine.
The borough council said of the refusal: “The proposed turbine would bring about the benefit of renewable energy generation and associated reduction in carbon emissions.
“However, the Ministerial Statement of June 6, 2013, makes it clear that the benefits of renewable schemes do not automatically override environmental protection.
“The proposal would, particularly when viewed in the context of existing turbines within its landscape context, introduce an incongruous landscape element causing visual harm outweighing the benefits associated with the generation of renewable energy, contrary to Saved Policy NE1 of the East Staffordshire Local Plan and the National Planning Policy Framework.”
Looking into the appeal, the Government inspector Geoffrey Hill agreed that the wind turbine would generate electricity by renewable means, which supports a ‘low carbon future’.
He also agreed that all communities have a responsibility to help increase the use and supply of green energy.
However, he said the renewable energy benefits do not override environmental protections and the planning concerns of the local communities.
Mr Hill said: “I acknowledge that the turbine might generate electricity which could be exported to the National Grid, and potentially meeting the needs not only of the farm and its businesses, but 20 houses as well.
“This could be regarded as a wider social and economic benefit.
“However, National Planning Policy Framework paragraph 96 requires that when considering low carbon development, regard has to be paid to massing and landscape interest.
“That is, the carbon reduction benefits alone do not constitute sustainable development as envisaged.”
He also noted an objection from Uttoxeter Rural Parish Council was a ‘simplistic blanket objection’.
After reviewing all of the reasons for and opposing the wind turbine, the Government inspector agreed with the borough council and the application for the renewable energy generator was again refused.
In conclusion, the inspector said: “Although the local landscape is not covered by a formal designation, is a valued feature – as argued by the local planning authority – and I consider that the significant harm the proposed turbine would cause to its character and appearance outweighs the relatively small scale social, economic and environmental benefits of the proposed third turbine.
“Accordingly, the appeal should be dismissed.”