THE ‘JUDGE JEFFREYS’ OF THE PLANNING INSPECTORATE
In England & Wales, even when the local population are dead set against the imposition of a windfarm next to their village, the Local Authorities are generally not very keen to turn down a planning application from a developer. Why is this?
Well, it’s all down to the Planning Inspector.
You can be pretty sure that once the developers has been refused permission, the first thing they will do is go to appeal. This appeal is decided by the Planning Inspector. Even though the local council kicks out the proposal, far more often than not Central Government’s Planning Inspector will overturn the decision and impose the windfarm on the local population anyway.
Invariably this means that the local authority that kicked out the proposal will end up footing the bill to oppose the project. This can run into tens of thousands of pounds.
I wondered how often this happened. A few days ago Paul Griffiths, a planning inspector, ruled that a controversial wind farm near Lyveden New Bield, an unfinished 16th century manor in Northamptonshire, containing one of the finest examples of an Elizabethan garden in Britain, could go ahead. (Dame Fiona Reynolds, Director General of the National Trust, said “It provides a clear indication that our cultural heritage is at great risk from inappropriately sited wind turbines and wind farms. If the impacts here are not such to amount to substantial harm on our nation’s heritage it is difficult to conceive where they would be.”)
So, here’s a Planning Inspector making a deeply unpopular decision. I wondered what his other planning decisions were like with regard to windfarms. That was easy enough to find out. I Googled “Paul Griffiths, Planning Inspector” and the following results tumbled from Google: In all the decisions listed below, Paul Griffiths overturned the local refusals!
Lyveden New Bield (as above)
However, he did turn one down!
The above list is just one Planning Inspector’s decisions. There are loads more where he came from. It seems that the wind industry has the planning process in it’s pocket.