This appeal was brought on behalf of the developer for a wind turbine development against the refusal of permission by East Hertfordshire District Council. The inspector dismissed the appeal following a two week public inquiry upholding the decision of the Council.
This important decision clarifies the position of wind turbines in the Green Belt. Following a series of conflicting assessments by the Secretary of State as to whether wind turbine development is inappropriate development in the Green Belt the inspector in this case diagnosed the features of modern turbines and found that respect of two turbines (the third being outside the Green Belt) at up to 119 m high and with blades some 41m long they would "inevitably significantly reduce the openness of the Green Belt by reason not only of their sheer height and the span of their blades but also because of the diameter of their towers; although they are arguably slim structures in relation to their height, a structure that is 4.3 m in diameter at ground level cannot be regarded as insubstantial in any real sense. Whilst it would certainly still be possible to see the surrounding landscape between the turbines, they would together form a substantial visual "stop" in views from the immediate surrounding area such that any reasonable observer would feel that the present open character of the landscape had been substantially reduced. This effect would be exacerbated by the tendency of the rotating blades to draw and hold the eye"
Given that these are the features of most modern wind turbine development it is unlikely that subsequently applications will be considered as other than inappropriate development in the Green Belt to which the test of very special circumstances in PPG 2 will apply.
Saira Kabir Sheikh appeared on behalf of East Hertfordshire District Council