High Court appeal on Hemsby turbines

Rejected wind turbine plans that could 'harm the character and appearance' of the Hemsby area could proceed on the back of a High Court challenge.

Sea and Land Power and Energy Limited hope to erect four huge wind turbines, not far from three existing windfarms.

Both Great Yarmouth Borough Council and a Government Planning Inspector kicked out their plans, finding that further turbines would threaten the area's natural beauty.

But the company is now mounting a High Court appeal against the inspector's decision, arguing the refusal was unlawful because it did not take proper account of the region's renewable energy targets.

Brandon Lewis, MP for Great Yarmouth, said he is backing residents in their bid to prevent plans from going ahead.

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'It's very disappointing that they're deciding to go so far against the desire of local people,' he said. 'I will continue to work with the people of Hemsby to fight this.'

Sea and Land had applied to build the 105m-high turbines, along with supporting infrastructure, saying the site would supply power to more than 5,000 homes.

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But, rejecting the scheme, a government inspector found: 'The development would result in material harm to the character and appearance of the area because of its scale and location and the cumulative impacts of other similar developments.'

But today the energy company's barrister, Richard Wald, told the court: 'The East of England has failed to meet its renewable energy targets for 2010 and is unlikely to meet those for 2020.

'The proposal would contribute 10MW to existing capacity and would assist the region with meeting its 2010 and 2020 targets.'

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, maintains the inspector correctly balanced the plans' advantages and disadvantages and came to an 'unassailable' decision.

Mrs Justice Lang, who will decide whether or not to quash inspector's decision, reserved her judgment in the matter, which will be given at an unspecified date in the future.

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