Frodsham Marsh Wind Farm gets go ahead!
The inspector has recommended approved of Peel’s application and the Secretary of State has accepted his recommendation. The inspectors report link below and also Overall Conclusions and Recommendations PP106-107.
- I now draw together my overall conclusions by identifying the harm, followed by considerations in favour of the proposal. This leads to a final balancing exercise. In reaching my overall conclusions I take full account of the views of local people. However, as reported already, this is by no means a case where the local population is wholly against the proposal. There is a significant degree of local support. The national imperative for the provision of renewable energy must also come into play.
Green Belt Harm
- There is acknowledged harm by reason of inappropriateness. This carries substantial weight. In addition there is harm to openness which carries significant weight. The harm to the purpose of safeguarding land from encroachment is of moderate weight.
- I have identified the overall harm to the landscape to be of moderate significance and locally of major significance. This is allied to the harm to the visual amenity of the Green Belt. Harm to the setting of the promontory hill fort at Helsby would be limited. There is conflict with a number of development plan policies as a result of the identified harm.
Considerations in Favour
- There is substantial support from national policy and objectives for the development of renewable energy in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address the effects of climate change. The failure to meet objectives to date both regionally and locally strengthens the need to provide infrastructure as soon as possible.
- The proposal would be important in assisting the objective of achieving a secure and reliable supply of electricity. There would also be some provision of investment and jobs in the locality. The proposal accords with many development plan policies.
- In addition to the support lent by the above matters it is fair to point out that there are a number of areas where harm has been alleged, but not substantiated. However, these matters are not ones which can reasonably be included in the final balance.
The Overall Balance
- The Framework contains a presumption in favour of sustainable development (unless an appropriate assessment is deemed by the Secretary of State to be necessary, which I do not consider to be the case here). Sustainable development is described as having 3 dimensions. These are economic, social and environmental. The proposal would have socio-economic benefit, as acknowledged by the Council. It would also contribute to the using of natural resources in a prudent manner and would not unduly impact on the natural, built and historic environment. Hence it is my judgement that the proposed development enjoys support from the ‘golden thread’ in favour of sustainable development which is advocated by the Framework. The overall balance distils to just a few key matters in this case. Taken in the round there is greater support for the proposal from the development plan than conflict with it. The considerations which support the proposal, dealing with the imperative of addressing climate change and the need to achieve a secure and reliable supply of electricity are compelling. They clearly outweigh the harm to the Green Belt, the landscape impact and the effects on the setting of the hill fort.
- For the reasons given above I recommend that Consent be granted subject to the conditions in the attached annex, and that planning permission be deemed to be granted.
Frodsham Marsh Wind Turbines: Community views and RSPB response prior to the above decision.