Wind farm consent blown away
Posted: 7th February 2013
Planning permission for a wind farm on the Isle of Anglesey has been quashed by the High Court on grounds that a planning inspector had no jurisdiction to grant it. Pursuant to regulation 9(2) of the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (England and Wales) Regulations 1999, the inspector was required to submit the plans to the Welsh Ministers for a screening opinion as to whether an environmental impact assessment (EIA) was required.
A landowner had sought permission for two 30-metre-high wind turbines on an agricultural site but had encountered objections on grounds that the development would be an inappropriate intrusion into the landscape. Isle of Anglesey County Council had supported the proposals and its view that an EIA was not required was upheld by the inspector who granted permission.
Upholding a challenge brought by a local resident, the High Court ruled that neither the local authority’s nor the inspector’s views were determinative and that the regulations imposed a mandatory requirement to submit the plans to the Welsh Ministers for a screening opinion on whether an EIA was required.
The purpose of the regulations was to ensure that adequate levels of environmental protection were achieved within the planning process, their wording was clear and the ‘short but decisive’ point was that the inspector had no power to grant planning permission prior to receipt of a screening opinion from the competent authority.