Shipmeadow man loses wind turbine court battle

Benji Howell (pictured left) with protestors against the Barsham turbine at the public enquiry in 20

Benji Howell (pictured left) with protestors against the Barsham turbine at the public enquiry in 2013. - Credit: James Bass

A Shipmeadow man has failed in his legal challenge to build a wind turbine 'taller than St Paul's Cathedral' 500 metres from his home.

Benjamin Howell, who lives at Crake Hall, had asked London's Court of Appeal to quash the decision of a government planning inspector granting permission for the turbine to be built at nearby Laurel's Farm.

The application was originally refused by Waveney District Council in March last year and was opposed by the Broads Authority, ten town or parish councils and many residents.

However the inspector approved an appeal in 2014 by Stamford Renewable Energy Ltd, finding that while some would perceive the resulting changes to the landscape as harmful, the turbine would not prevent the public enjoyment of The Broads.

Mr Howell's lawyers claimed that the planning inspector who gave the go-ahead made an 'error of law' by misinterpreting his duty to protect the Norfolk Broads - only 750 metres away - from the impact of the turbine. They also argued the inspector hadn't properly considered the benefits of the project or the noise it would produce.

But yesterday three of the country's top judges rejected those arguments. Lords Justices Richard and Briggs and Sir David Keene and said that the High Court judge Mr Justice Cranston had produced a 'thorough and careful judgment' rejecting the points. In the ruling under challenge, Mr Justice Cranston said that, while he was 'troubled by a turbine which would be taller than St Paul's in London', the inspector who granted consent had been entitled reach his decision.