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Do two negatives make a positive? Wind farm decision deferred due to refusal of a nearby development

Do two negatives make a positive? Wind farm decision deferred due to refusal of a nearby development
August 21, 2014 Kai Frolic

The proposed Netherwitton wind development comprises five turbines with a tip height of 127.5 metres to be located in Northumberland. The scheme, which is being proposed by RES, has received objections from local residents as well as aviation stakeholders and parish councils.

It has been reported in The Journal that the scheme was recommended for refusal and councillors were to consider the bid on the 5th of August. However, an unrelated scheme that had been proposed by Energiekontor UK eight kilometres away at Fenrother has been rejected by the Secretary of State Eric Pickles. This has led to the decision regarding Netherwitton to be delayed.

Cumulative Impact

The refusal of the Energiekontor scheme is significant for the Netherwitton scheme because one of the reasons for recommending refusal of the Netherwitton scheme was the cumulative impact with the Fenrother scheme. Since the latter has been refused, the cumulative concern may be considered immaterial.

Implications of Neighbouring Wind Farms

This is not the only instance where refusal of one wind farm has a bearing on another, as cumulative concerns are often paramount for such developments. It is common for major stakeholders such as NATS and civil airports such as RHADS and Prestwick to cite cumulative concerns as a reason for objecting to a wind farm.

Budgets

Another instance where refusal of nearby schemes comes into play is when receptors have a ‘budget’ when it comes to wind farms, such as the Eskdalemuir Seismic Array in Scotland. This array forms part of the worldwide Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and is safeguarded by the MOD who employ a ‘noise budget’.

This effectively limits the scale of development within 50 kilometres of the array. If a development with an allocated portion of this budget is subsequently refused it can have direct consequences for neighbouring proposals.

Timing is Everything

Overall, the chances of success for a planning application change over time. Awareness of where and when other schemes have been accepted and refused should be maintained by developers in order to seize every opportunity.

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