CROWD JUSTICE FUNDING

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18-Feb-2016
CROWD JUSTICE FUNDING

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£5,000
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The Appeal: Save the Severn Estuary from the developers

I am raising funds to protect the Severn Estuary in the Forest of Dean from plans to develop a series of Single Wind Turbines.

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The latest update

  • Our first round of crowdfunding raised over £10,000, enabling us to apply to the High Court for a judicial review.
  • As of the 7th January, we have won the right to a formal judicial review, with a High Court hearing due to take place on 21st April 2016.
  • New crowdfunding target of £5000 is now needed to help me cover the costs of the now agreed judicial review to protect the Severn Estuary.

What this case is about

I am one of some 100 local residents living near the Severn Estuary in the Forest of Dean, who are concerned about the proliferation of single wind turbines being installed in the Severn Estuary, damaging the lovely rural landscape. Whilst I, and many others, accept the benefits of wind turbines in the right place, a series of single turbines, backed by the same developer, all within the same rural setting, is totally unjustified. It is creating a wind farm landscape by stealth.

We also observe that the Severn Estuary is a sensitive animal and bird breeding area. (See e.g. Wikipedia entry on the Severn Estuary, section on Conservation and SSSI status; and the Severn Estuary Partnership website.) The RSPB has also expressed its concern about the impact of the several wind turbine schemes proposed for the upper Severn area:

Together these have the potential to cause significant disturbance to waterbirds using the Severn Estuary Special Protection (SPA) and Ramsar Site…We are particular concerned about any impacts on curlew, since this is now a globally ‘near threatened species’ under IUCN criteria for which the UK holds special responsibility to maintain its breeding and wintering populations.

Current view

Protecting the Severn Estuary

For over 2000 years, the Severn Estuary has been a rural landscape and natural habitat for wildlife. 2 single wind turbines have been granted planning permission and at least 5 additional single wind turbines are seeking planning permission within a 10 mile stretch of the estuary all supported by the same developer, the Resilience Centre.

 

In the present case, the planning applicant’s wife, Councillor Maria Edwards, was elected to the Council and appointed to the planning committee whilst the planning application was under consideration.

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A clear majority of the affected local community are now firmly opposed to this development. In accordance with the Planning Practice Guidance, the community’s valid planning objections should have been taken into account and the Council should have rejected the Severndale application as the developer was not able to address the objections. Instead, the councillors placed undue weight and consideration to unspecified ‘community benefits’ (financed by the proceeds of the turbine).

The Senior Planning Case Officer on two occasions advised the Planning Committee that they should not take into account these ‘community benefits’ and should refuse planning permission, but the Councillors ignored this completely in reaching their decision citing the ‘community benefits’ as one of the main reasons for granting planning permission. Financial considerations which are not linked to the proposed development should be ignored in determining planning applications in accordance with law and government guidelines, as to take them into account would allow applicants to effectively ‘buy’ a planning permission. After applying to the High Court to review this decision and to quash it to prevent further unjustifiable damage being inflicted on the landscape as a result of this decision, I have now won the right to a formal judicial review.

A short timeline of my case

  • Planning application submitted in March 2015.
  • Local residents were notified of the planning application in late April 2015 with response required by end of May. The applicant submitted additional information in June 2015 following receipt of objections from statutory consultees, the Council’s officers, the Parish Council and local residents who opposed the scheme for a wide variety of reasons including harm to wildlife, the landscape and the setting of a number of heritage assets.
  • The application was due to be considered by the planning committee in July 2015, but due to last minute submissions by the applicant following receipt of the planning officer’s report which recommended refusing planning permission, consideration of the application was postponed to September.
  • The applicant then realised that they might miss the deadline to guarantee the higher rate Feed in Tariff and for this reason alone asked for the application to be heard in August. Despite protests from Peter Wright and others, the FODDC Planning Manager agreed to this expedition. Critically the Planning Officer who had recommended it be refused was then on holiday so could not attend this meeting.
  • On 11th August, contrary to the advice of the Planning Officer and contrary to the objections of the Parish Council and the majority of local residents, the councillors decided to grant planning permission to the proposal.
  • The local residents then asked the Secretary of State to “call in” the application and make a decision himself in mid-August. After some 5 weeks, on 29th September 2015 the Secretary of State decided not to call in the application for his own determination and the application was formally granted planning permission by the Council on 30th September 2015 – the very last date on which a developer could apply to secure the current higher Feed in tariffs.
  • The application for judicial review was filed on 11 November 2015, and was granted on the 7th January 2016.
  • Hearing date is set for 21st April 2016.

Why should people help?

The Planning Application was approved in clear conflict with the law regarding financial considerations being taken into account when considering planning applications, contrary to the recently implemented amendments to the Planning Practice Guidance on wind turbines which give the local community the ‘final say’ and contrary to Government Guidance regarding the weight to be attached to purported community benefits.

The Councillors in this case appear to have allowed themselves, in making their decision, to be unduly influenced by the developer’s promise to finance community benefits and may do so again in other cases unless I act now. They have effectively allowed the developer to buy this planning permission and they must not be allowed to buy further developments.

If successful, this challenge will ensure that no other Council can act with such impunity in the face of the overwhelming views of the local community and in breach of planning guidelines regarding alleged community benefits. In the Forest of Dean, there are at least 5 similar planning applications pending consideration and no doubt potentially hundreds across the UK. If I am successful, clear guidance will be available for other local communities to ensure that their Councils act fairly, with due regard to their constituents’ views.

What am I raising and what is it for?

Now that a formal judicial review has been granted, I am fundraising to cover the costs. Specifically, I am raising £5000 to match my own funds in order to cover £10,000 in additional costs. This will ensure that I have sufficient funding to enable me to proceed.

Pledge now!

 

Every contribution is valuable – thank you!

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We believe the information gathered on this site can act to bring the truth, regarding the dishonesty of the claimed benefits of Wind Turbines (WT) to the front of people’s minds as they are regularly taxed, in a hidden tax, on their energy bills to fund these politically correct and fundamentally all but useless monstrosities.

We have gathered a great deal of information in our efforts to prevent the industrialisation of Stroat and the banks of the Severn Estuary and across the wider area including the Forest of Dean (FoD) as administered by The Forest of Dean District Council (FoDDC), areas of outstanding natural beauty (AoONB), sites of special scientific interest (SSI) & wildlife habitats.

Please help to spread the truth about the Wind Turbine scam and the fundamental flaws and lies of the ‘Warmists’ & self proclaimed ‘Greens’, which are presented as ‘fact’, regarding the anthropogenic influence of mankind on Global Warming and Climate Chance.

Arm yourself with facts to defeat the biggest con of the late 20th and early 21st Century, and do please spread the truth and the URL of this site as widely as you can.

Posted by: Greg Lance – Watkins (site owner)

If you would like more information about Stroat see: http://Stroat-Gloucestershire.com/

If you would like more information about Greg_L-W see: http://GregLanceWatkins.com/

E&OE

IF you note ANY errors of fact in this or any other web site or blog I own please bring it to my attention for correction @ Greg_L-W@BTconnect.com – Thank you.

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