We were appointed by Seren Energy to appeal a decision by Carmarthenshire County Council who had refused planning permission for a 77-metre- high, 500kW wind turbine. The reasons for refusal included significant landscape and visual impacts which were considered to balance unfavourably against predicted energy output, which they claimed to be lower. Their conclusions cited UK Government reports that claimed the UK was on course to achieve target proportions of electricity from renewable sources. Therefore, the Council claimed the further provision of renewable energy would carry less than significant weight versus the anticipated impacts.
We presented an argument that despite UK Government claims that the UK was on course to meet EU emissions targets for 2020 (in terms of renewable energy contributions), the reality, as confirmed by EU publications on progress, was different. Further, supported by case law, we successfully argued that EU renewable energy targets were minimum and not maximum targets.
It followed that progress towards reaching or exceeding renewable energy targets should not lower the substantial ‘weight in favour’ of renewable development proposals.
To support the case we provided an evidenced argument, that the predicted energy outputs for the wind turbine were realistic and substantial, rebutting the Council’s claims of lower output levels. This was combined with arguments that the importance and quality of the landscape, and therefore impacts, were not as high as the Council claimed.
The Inspector agreed with our case and found that the proposed wind turbine would contribute to minimum EU renewable energy targets (thereby the tackling emissions) which carried significant material weight. On balance, the Inspector agreed that the potential landscape and visual impacts would not outweigh the renewable energy benefits offered by the proposals.
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