Issue date: 16th April 2013
A Proposed 67-metre (220-foot) high wind turbine close to the Daw End Branch Canal at Aldridge has been rejected on appeal by the planning inspector. The turbine at College Farm near Riddian Bridge and Park Lime Pits would have been in the Green Belt and one of the few remaining areas of unspoilt countryside along the Birmingham Canal Navigations.
IWA Lichfield Branch objected to the original application in 2011 because of its visual impact on the rural setting of the canal and the damage to its recreational amenity and tourism value. Whilst a smaller turbine could have been more acceptable, at 500kw this proposal would have generated more than 10 times the power needed for the farm and could have set a precedent for other industrial scale wind turbines across the Green Belt.
The turbine plans generated a lot of local opposition and were refused permission by Walsall Council because of its excessive size, damage to the openness of the Green Belt, and safety concerns from its proximity to a public footpath. The applicant then Appealed the decision and also proposed moving the turbine further from the footpath to give a minimum ‘fall-over’ distance of the overall height plus 10% (to comply with Government guidance on separation from public rights of way) but continued to ignore the public access to the canal and towpath which was closer.
However, the planning inspector has dismissed the appeal, citing the effect on the character of the countryside and openness of the Green Belt, the visual impact of both its size and rotational movement, and insufficient safety clearance from the canal and towpath.
For any IWA planning officers opposing similar proposals near waterways, this decision is significant in upholding the advice on safe separation distances in The Companion Guide to Planning Policy Statement 22 Planning for Renewable Energy (which remains extant despite abolition of PPS22 itself).
The Appeal decision can be found on the Planning Portal at http://www.pcs.planningportal.gov.uk/pcsportal/CaseSearch.asp by entering the case reference 2175517