No appeal in trying to fight turbine verdict

Start of protest march against Dorcas Lane Wind Farm in Stoke Hammond in 2011
Start of protest march against Dorcas Lane Wind Farm in Stoke Hammond in 2011

Energy giants behind plans for a wind farm in LBO land have conceded defeat in their attempts to build the turbines.

Force 9 Energy and EDF had wanted to build four 125-metre turbines at Dorcas Lane, Stoke Hammond, but had met with fierce objection from villagers.

The firms had appealed against Aylesbury Vale District Council’s refusal of planning permission, which led to an eight-day public inquiry in the summer.

Following that, the council’s decision was supported by Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, just before Christmas.

At the time Force 9/EDF had six weeks to appeal to the High Court and said they would study the reasons their bid had failed in detail.

Speaking on Friday after the deadline had lapsed a spokesman for Force 9 Energy said they had been “disappointed by the scheme’s rejection but had “no intention of making any challenge to the decision”.

He added: “Our reading of the inspector’s report suggests the decision was a very narrow one and we are encouraged that she agreed in most instances with the findings of the environmental statement and evidence given by us to the inquiry, particularly in respect of landscape impacts, impacts on features of cultural heritage interest and the potential effect of the development on aviation interests.

“We hope that the findings of the inquiry, whilst against that particular project on balance, will reassure people with an interest to study them in detail, that wind farms in general can play a helpful role in supporting the development of clean and sustainable energy and we will use the experience we have gained to improve future development proposals.

“We would like to thank the council, SDLT, Friends of the Earth and those who supported the project for the manner in which they conducted themselves throughout the public inquiry process.”

Malcolm Newing, chairman of Stop Dorcas Lane Turbines, said: “We are led to believe from the Planning Inspectorate that no appeal has been received from the developers within the six-week regulatory timeframe and so conclude this application is finally at an end. For the residents of the eight local communities affected, this is a hard-won victory that has taken a long three years to achieve.

“It is a victory for local democracy, as this application was opposed from the very start by an overwhelming majority of the local population. Sadly this is not necessarily reflected by current planning legislation and so SDLT and the council have had to build a very strong argument to ensure justice was met.

“SDLT were the vocal point for opposition but this has been a massive team effort, and our thanks go to all the local parish councils, our district councillors Neil and Janet Blake and our local MP John Bercow who were all staunch in their support.

“Most of all however thanks and congratulations must go to the local communities who united as one to fight off this totally inappropriate development.

“Very importantly it should be recognised this is a victory not just locally but for Aylesbury Vale because if this first battle had been lost, then the entire Vale would have been fair game for developers and we may well have found ourselves living in the equivalent of a North Sea oil field.”