Broadview Energy challenges Secretary of State’s decision against Spring Farm Ridge wind farm

28 Jan 2015

Following a detailed review of the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government’s decision to refuse planning permission for the Spring Farm Ridge project, Broadview has identified a number of concerns about the manner in which the decision was taken.  Accordingly, Broadview has today lodged an appeal to the High Court to quash the Secretary of State’s decision.

The Spring Farm Ridge project is a five turbine wind farm on agricultural land between the villages of Greatworth, Helmdon and Sulgrave, in Northamptonshire, and was the subject of a Public Inquiry that was held in October 2013, during which the Secretary of State intervened, recovering the decision for himself.  His refusal was against the recommendation of the Planning Inspector who conducted the two week Public Inquiry, and considered the vast amount of evidence that was presented by Broadview, the local authority and several other interested parties.

Two independent Planning Inspectors have now seen fit to approve the project as it was also subject to an earlier Public Inquiry in July 2012 wherein it was allowed.  That approval was struck down on a technicality by the High Court in January 2013 prompting the second Public Inquiry.

The scale of intervention by the Secretary of State, Eric Pickles, in onshore wind farms is unprecedented.  Since June 2013 when the Secretary of State first announced his policy to recover wind farms for his own determination, he has intervened in 56 wind farm applications, and of the 30 that have been decided upon, 27 have been refused.

Broadview’s Managing Director, Jeffrey Corrigan, said: “The decision by the Secretary of State is wrong in terms of planning and it is wrong in terms of energy policy.  The fact that two independent Planning Inspectors, who have demonstrated a balanced view in determining wind farms, have separately seen fit to approve the project demonstrates that it is well designed and in compliance with the relevant policies.  Spring Farm Ridge and many of the other onshore wind projects refused by Eric Pickles could have provided renewable energy to the UK at a competitive price.  Instead, the Government is signing contracts to purchase offshore wind to meet its renewable energy and carbon reduction targets at almost twice the price of onshore wind.  This will cost consumers hundreds of millions of pounds for many years to come”.