Broadview Energy - Secretary of State overrules independent Inspector’s decision

07 Jan 2015

Broadview’s planning application for the Spring Farm Ridge renewable energy project, comprising five wind turbines on agricultural land between the villages of Greatworth, Helmdon and Sulgrave, in Northamptonshire, has been refused planning permission by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

The Secretary of State intervened in the determination of the project’s planning application prior to a Public Inquiry that was held in October 2013.  The refusal goes 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.

Since June 2013 the Secretary of State has intervened in 56 wind farm applications, and of the 29 that have been decided upon, 26 have been refused.   In addition to refusing the vast majority of applications, the interventions have also added significant delays to an already lengthy planning process.  Under the Planning Inspectorate’s original timetable, the Spring Farm Ridge application should have been determined in December 2013, so the intervention has added a year to the process.

Broadview’s Managing Director, Jeffrey Corrigan said; “The scale of the interventions, the delays to the planning process and the substantial number of refusals makes future development of onshore wind in England untenable.  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.  If the UK is to meet its renewable energy and carbon reduction targets, this electricity will have to be provided by more expensive offshore wind or nuclear generation, saddling consumers with significant extra costs.  In this context it is clear this and other interventions are not planning decisions, rather they are energy policy decisions that are contrary to the commitments to have the ‘greenest Government ever’ and to keep the cost of energy to consumers in check”.

Broadview are currently reviewing the decision, seeking to understand the basis for the Secretary of State’s disagreement with the Planning Inspector’s recommendation.