Background to the Wind Turbines SPD and Emerging Policy 2013

Wind Turbine SPD

The Wind Turbine Supplementary Planning Document and Emerging Policy 2013 document was adopted on 16 October 2013. The SPD, a statement summarising the main issues raised during the formal consultation period and details of modifications made as a result of representations, together with a copy of the Adoption Statement are available to view below

Wind Turbine SPD (PDF, 223KB)

Adoption Statement (PDF, 59KB)

Consultation Statement (PDF, 175KB)

Consultation

The Council carried out a consultation on the Draft Wind Turbines Supplementary Planning Document and Emerging Policy Between Wednesday 17 July and Wednesday 11 September 2013. The consultation responses were considered at a Members' Workshop, resulting in some minor chnages to the SPD and Emerging Policy document which were carried forward into the Adopted Document. The consultation documents are available to view below

Draft Wind Turbines SPD (PDF, 307KB)

Draft Wind Turbines SPD supporting documents (PDF, 2.4MB)

A summary of the responses received during the consultation is available at the following link:

Summary of Responses (PDF, 150KB)

Pre-Consultation

Planning Practice Guidance for Renewable and Low Carbon Energy

New planning guidance for renewable and low carbon energy was published on 29 July 2013 by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). It replaces the 'Companion Guide to PPS22: Renewable Energy' and follows a written ministerial statement by Secretary of State Eric Pickles in June.

The new guidance deals with all forms of renewable and low carbon energy generation and is available to view online: Planning Practice Guidance for Renewable and Low Carbon Energy

Wind Turbines SPD and Emerging Policy

April 2013 Update

The Wind Turbines SPD has been quashed by a High Court judgement. As a result, the SPD will no longer be taken into account in the determination of wind turbine applications.

There were four strands to the case brought against the Council, of which the Council won three of the four. On the point that was lost it was only on the basis that this Council had already had a separation distance in its current local plan. In summary the four points of the judgement were:

i) Whether the Wind SPD was a “development plan document”, a “supplementary planning document” or some other type of “local development document”. The Judge found that the Wind SPD was not a “development plan document” falling within regulation 5(1)(a)(i) or (iv) of the 2012 Regulations but was a “supplementary planning document” falling within regulation 5(1)(a)(iii).

ii) The alleged conflict with the adopted development plan. The Judge held that the more stringent requirements in the Wind SPD in relation to separation distances are inconsistent, and therefore in conflict, with the requirement that planning permission will be granted if the wind turbine is at least 350m from the nearest residential dwelling, as set out in Policy D5 of the adopted development plan. As such, he found that “no reasonable person could have concluded that the minimum separation distances from any residential dwelling in excess of 350m specified in the “Emerging Policy” were not in conflict with the adopted development plan”. However, note that the Judge found that the Claimant did not show that sections 4 to 6 of the Wind SPD (minimum distances from bridleways and footpaths and safety requirements) are in conflict with the adopted development plan.

iii) Whether the Council failed to have regard to national policies and advice contained in guidance issued by the Secretary of State. The Judge rejected this contention made by the Claimants and found that there was nothing to suggest that the Council failed to have regard to what the document contained when preparing and adopting the “Emerging Policy”, nor did the Claimant show that the Council miv) Whether the Council was obliged to exercise a discretion to treat the Wind SPD as a “development plan document” and whether it failed to take into account the Secretary of State’s guidance in not doing so. The Judge found that a local planning authority can only treat a “local development document” as a “development plan document” and adopt it as such if it is a document which the Secretary of State has specified as one which is a “development plan” document. The Council had no discretion to treat the Wind SPD as such a document. Even if it had, it was entitled to treat it as a “supplementary planning document”. As such, the Judge rejected this claim.

As such, the claim for judicial review succeeded but only on the ground that Emerging Policy (2) in the Wind SPD (separation distance for residential properties) was in conflict with the adopted development plan; the Council in fact succeeded in the other three submissions. The Council did seek an order that the SPD be only partially quashed to retain those parts which the judge found to be lawful and not in conflict with the adopted local plan. However, the Judge rejected this order on the grounds that if the policy relating to separation distances from residential dwellings was removed then the SPD would become “a radically different policy document” and it was not in his function to decide such an outcome. As such, the final judgment was to quash the entire SPD. The judge also granted an order for costs that the Council pay the partial costs (40%) of the Claimant. The Council has made and been granted an application for leave to appeal the judgment.

Please click here to view the judgment in full (PDF, 3.9MB)

Adoption

The Wind Turbines Supplementary Planning Document and Emerging Policy: Wind Turbines Planning Applications document was adopted on 24 July 2012. The adoption report and decision notice are available to view via this link - Wind Turbines SPD Exec scrutiny report. Copies of the, now quashed, document, the Adoption Statement and the Consultation Statement are available to view via the links below.

Consultation

The Council carried out a consultation on the Draft Wind Turbines Supplementary Planning Document and Emerging Policy between Thursday 2 February and Wednesday 28 March 2012. The consultation responses were considered at a Members' Workshop, resulting in some minor changes to the SPD and Emerging Policy document which were carried forward into the Adopted document. The consultation documents are available to view below.

Comments made during the consultation period can be viewed on by clicking 'Who said what?' in the top right hand corner on the consultation portal. A summary of the responses is also available at the link below.

Purpose

The purpose of the Wind Turbines Supplementary Planning Document and Emerging Policy was to provide increased protection of residential amenity, as well as pedestrians and horse riders.

Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)

An SEA Screening Report was produced and sent to the statutory bodies to assess the requirement for a Strategic Environmental Assessment of the draft SPD. Assessment showed that SEA was required, so a scoping report was produced and sent to the statutory bodies. Comments received at the scoping stage were incorporated and a full Sustainability Appraisal was carried out and made available at the meeting of the Cabinet on 20 December 2011.