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Cornerstone Barristers acts for successful local authority in securing the rejection of four onshore wind farms after Wales’s longest ever planning inquiry

The decisions were announced on 7 September 2015 and followed a combined public inquiry, which closed in May 2014.

Tom Cosgrove and Clare Parry from Cornerstone Barristers together with Simon Bird QC were instructed by Geldards LLP on behalf of Powys County Council to oppose the wind farms that have now been rejected by the Government.

A further proposal – to upgrade an existing wind farm at Llandinam – was approved, but proposals before the inquiry for a power line to link it to the national electricity grid were rejected, putting the future of even that project in doubt.

The reasons cited by the DECC for rejecting the projects included concerns over the wind farms' impact on local landscape, biodiversity, heritage and local traffic.

Tom Cosgrove comments:

"These decisions support the position taken by Powys County Council at the inquiry and highlight the importance of producing careful and thorough expert evidence."

"The inquiry required months of preparation and extensive, detailed consideration of evidence at the inquiry. It was a real team effort between the lawyers, consultants and officers."

Background

  • On 23 October 2012, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change called a combined public inquiry into the above applications made under sections 36 and 37 of the Electricity Act 1989.
  • The Inquiry, which was the UK's biggest onshore wind farm public inquiry, sat for a year during 2013/14. What was also Wales' longest-ever planning inquiry considered proposals for five onshore wind farms and a 132kV connection to the power grid in Powys, mid-Wales. The Inquiry commenced on 4 June 2013 and closed on May 2014 . Tom Cosgrove and Clare Parry acted for Powys throughout.
  • Under consideration were nationally significant wind farm and related grid proposals for up to 600 megawatts of new capacity for sites in Mid Wales. The inquiry covered a full range of issues including the latest renewable energy and planning policy, landscape and visual matters, tourism and the economy, transport, noise, ecology, grid, cultural heritage and cumulative impact considerations.
  • The Planning Inspector's report and recommendations were submitted to the Secretary of State on 8 December 2014.

The decisions are below (with links to the decision letters):

  • Llanbadarn Fynydd onshore wind farm refused;
  • Llandinam onshore wind farm repowering consent given;
  • Llaithddu onshore wind farm refused;
  • Llanbrynmair onshore wind farm refused;
  • Carnedd Wen onshore wind farm refused; and
  • Llandinam to Welshpool Substation Overhead Power Line connection refused.