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High Court rules on wind turbine separation

The High Court has rejected three of the four grounds involved in a recent judgment brought by RWE Npower Renewables and Ecotricity against Milton Keynes Borough Council.

The case was brought by the two companies following their objections to the council’s minimum separation distances between wind turbines and dwellings within its Wind Turbine Supplementary Planning Document.

The single ground on which the judicial review succeeded was that Milton Keynes had  defined in its local plan in 2002 a specific turbine buffer zone of 350 m.

The judge ruled that the amended separation distances in the SPD were in conflict with the pre-existing buffer zone in the local plan.

The Renewable Energy Foundation has congratulated Milton Keynes BC on its success and says it appears to be clear that local authorities may define separation distances between turbines and dwellings and that these may be defined in Supplementary Planning Documents.

REF director Dr John Constable said: “To avoid public anger and disenchantment, it is crucial that there are reasonable safeguards to protect the amenity of wind turbine neighbours.

“The judgment in the Milton Keynes case shows that the law in fact supports local authorities that wish to set minimum separation distances, although it also shows that these must be designed and worded carefully.”

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