Henry IV battlefield turbines approved

Posted: 17th December 2013

Wind turbineControversial plans to erect a wind turbine close to a plethora of ancient monuments and historical sites in Northumberland have received the green light after the High Court dismissed a campaigner’s judicial review challenge to the development.

The landowner behind the proposal had encountered opposition from local residents who pointed out that the turbine would stand only 750 metres away from the site of a historic battle recounted in Shakespeare's Henry IV. The site was also close to the Northumberland National Park, an iron-age hill fort and a medieval castle.

Planning consent was, however, granted by Northumberland County Council. In challenging that decision, a local objector submitted, amongst other things, that, in his report to the relevant committee, a planning officer had failed to mention that the site was in an area of acknowledged ‘high sensitivity’.

Conditions relating to noise pollution were said to be ‘irrational and unenforceable’ and it was argued that the officer had wrongly advised the committee to focus on whether the turbine would cause ‘substantial harm’ to the setting of the ancient monuments, rather than simply ‘harm’.

Dismissing the challenge, however, the Court noted that the turbine would supply clean energy to the landowner’s farmstead, which consisted of a house, a holiday cottage and a caravan park, and that it would serve to cut carbon emissions and reduce consumption of energy from non-renewable sources.

Noting that the County Archaeologist, Northumberland Conservation, the National Parks Authority and English Heritage had raised no objections to the proposal, the Court found that the conditions relating to noise monitoring were ‘capable of effective enforcement’. The Council was also entitled to take the view that any visual harm to the ancient monuments would be ‘minimal’.