Brits Tear Down Lake District Wind Turbines to Restore Pristine Views: Locals Delighted …

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Brits Tear Down Lake District Wind Turbines to Restore Pristine Views:
Locals Delighted …
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Hi,

WT - TORN DOWN BY LOCALS - LAKE DISTRICT

Brits Tear Down Lake District Wind Turbines to Restore Pristine Views: Locals Delighted

Among the wind cult, it’s apparently the ‘aesthetics’ of these things that titillate the senses and get their juices flowing: just knowing that they’re out there somewhere (in someone else’s backyard, not their own) gently caressing the breezes, is more than enough for starry-eyed wind worshippers.

Ignore the hundreds of $billions squandered on subsidies for a power generation system, abandoned centuries ago, for pretty obvious reasons; ignore the chaotic, occasional delivery of power which, but for those subsidies, has no commercial value because it can’t be delivered as and when power consumers want it; ignore rocketing retail power prices in places like Denmark, Germany and South Australia (all said to run on sunshine and/or breezes and all paying the highest power prices in the world); and ignore the millions of birds and bats, sliced, diced and belted to Kingdom Come each and every year.

True enough, the wind cult is simply hard-wired to ignore reality.

But, funnily enough, real environmentalists, as well as those forced to live cheek by jowl with these giant whirling wonders, tend not to feel so warm and fuzzy about them, after all. Instead, community defenders, across the globe, will do anything to prevent them destroying the rural environments in which people are bound to live.

The N-I-M-B-Y charge levelled by eco-zealots tends to ring hollow, against the fact that no matter how many of these things get speared across the countryside, there will always – absolutely A-L-W-A-Y-S – be a coal or gas (or in South Australia and the UK, diesel) generation plant somewhere in the system, online, chugging away, burning fuel (or ready to do so in an instant) just to keep the grid from collapsing, whenever wind power output collapses on a total and totally unpredictable basis. And much hyped mega-batteries will continue to be ludicrously expensive, vanity signalling projects, providing a minuscule amount of power, at the margins.

So far, so pointless.

While the wind industry, its parasites and spruikers still attempt the line that rural communities are falling over themselves to get in on some wind farm action, as usual, the spin and the reality are paddocks apart.

Around the world, rural communities continue to fight back hard against the great wind power fraud.

Wherever wind farms have appeared – or have been threatened – big numbers of locals take a set against theses things and those ready to spear them into their previously peaceful – and often idyllic – rural communities.

Their anger extends to the goons that lied their way to development approval – and the bent officials that rubber-stamped their applications and who, thereafter, help the operators ride roughshod over locals’ rights to live in and enjoy the peace and comfort of their own homes and properties (see our post here).

Apparently, instead of falling in love with the look of these things, the moment there’s an opportunity to get rid of them, communities can’t contain their riotous delight. Funny about that.

Britain Starts Dismantling Wind Farms After Successful Lake District Campaign
The Times
Ben Webster
8 December 2017

A dozen 140ft wind turbines on the edge of the Lake District are due to be dismantled next summer after a decision which could result in many more being removed to restore views.

The wind farm on Kirkby Moor on the Furness peninsula in Cumbria would be the first large one to be taken down since they began appearing around Britain in 1991.

South Lakeland district council refused an application by the wind farm operator to keep the turbines operating for another ten years until 2027.

Under the original planning permission, granted in 1992, the turbines have to be removed by August 26 next year.

The council’s decision follows a campaign by the Friends of the Lake District (FLD) and the Open Spaces Society (OSS), which argued that the turbines blighted views from within the Lake District National Park.

The distance to the park boundary from the nearest turbine is 800 metres. Laura Fiske, FLD planning officer, said the decision set a precedent which would make it easier to resist applications from other wind farm operators to extend the life of visually intrusive turbines for which planning permission will soon expire.

She said: “This decision is a victory for the local communities who live in the shadow of this development imposed on them by the government in the early 1990s. This decision reflects the tireless effort they have put in to make their voices heard.”

Kate Ashbrook, OSS general secretary, said: “We objected because the turbines are a severe intrusion in a wild landscape, highly visible from many directions and in particular from the Lake District national park.

“Furthermore, the turbines occupy a significant area of registered common land, where the public has the right to walk and commoners have the right to graze stock. The moor is also criss-crossed with public rights of way.

Now we need to make sure that every trace of the turbines is removed when the current consent expires next year, so that this magnificent common is restored to its former glory”.
The Times

To view the original of this article & much more information exposing the crass concept & environmental damage of Wind Turbines CLICK HERE.

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Greg_L-W.

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Deaf To The Environmental Damage Of These Costly, Noisy & Inefficient Eyesores …

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Deaf To The Environmental Damage Of These Costly, Noisy & Inefficient Eyesores …
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Hi,

consider the massive pollution caused in the manufacture of the tons of steel & cement, then consider the tons of pollution caused by transport of all this and the massive structure of the Wind Turbine itself and the miles of coppoer wire for the installation & windings of the generator – now consider the infrastructure of roads to service these useless & damaging monstrosities.

Many of the service roads are across & through wonderful open vistas and across ancient moorlands, forests and peat beds.

Then consider the costs and pollution that will be caused cutting up the tons of reinforced steel & concrete & transporting it to landfill sites when the technology becomes obsolete as did wind power in the past.

Just why would anyone be so stupid as to instal wind turbines were it not for the bribes, backhanders and opportunities for the wealthy to milk the subsidies paid by tax payers!

WT - ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE 07

See more of Wind Energy’s Absurd on Facebook
Here is just a quick extract found on TWITTER!

Another Wonderful Whack of the Day comes from that special Constable, John, of the Global Warming Policy Foundation/Renewable Energy Foundation, in a letter to the Scottish Daily Mail.

His truncheon whacks the Scottish Government and Paul Wheelhouse into next week.

Enjoy.

————————————————————————————-

Deaf to worries about these ugly, costly and noisy sites

By John Constable, Energy Editor, Global Warming Policy Forum

There is hardly a Munro left in Scotland from which you cannot see a wind farm. In recent years the landscape has been transformed by enormous turbines.

These structures are more than 100 metres (330ft) in height and when many are clustered together, they are highly visible even from great distances.

People who choose to live in the wild areas of rural Scotland do so for a reason: because they love it. Those who go walking in these places feel the same.

They find them beautiful, and they’re sensitive to the landscape and to visual intrusion. Many are upset by the large number of turbines that have been erected.

Wind farms have a huge impact on the local environment, and not only visually. From surprisingly far distances people can hear them and the noise they make is peculiar and intermittent – it wakes them up at night and they can’t get back to sleep. Wind farms do not make good neighbours.

They are often constructed in areas where there are no roads, meaning these have to be created, sometimes on peat.

This leads to real concerns over the balance of damage and benefit – the benefits of low emissions energy on the one hand, yet the damage to the local environment on the ground, and whether that is really justified.

Almost all of the UK’s wind farming is concentrated in Scotland, because the Scottish Government is not listening to the objections of the residents who have to live near these sites.

Because so much of the Scottish population is concentrated in urban areas, however good the environmental arguments made by local objectors are, there simply aren’t enough voices for the SNP in Edinburgh to care. The simple truth is that this is political statistics.

So it is perhaps not surprising that the Scottish Government’s new energy strategy is planning an expansion of the number of turbines.

The Government has accepted a lot of the spin coming out of the wind farm industry without being sufficiently sceptical. They’ve swallowed it all hook, line and sinker. Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse continues to say that onshore wind is the lowest-cost form of new generation energy, but this is simply not true.

Onshore wind is generally extremely expensive in comparison to electricity from conventional sources, particularly combined cycle gas turbines.

It is well known that the subsidy and system costs of existing wind farms put them well above the cost of other forms of energy. Subsidies in the UK for renewables in total now come to about £7billion per year.

You’re taking money – in other words, resources – from elsewhere in the economy and giving it to wind generators.

By redirecting resources towards the wind sector, you are suppressing activity in other parts.

So you may have created jobs in the wind sector but how many jobs have you destroyed in other fundamentally economic activities?

The costs for all forms of wind are high. The farms require more grid and special operations of the grid system to keep it balanced. These costs are not small.

When you add it all up, the total cost to the consumer of a unit from a wind farm is considerably higher than that from a conventional generator. So how is the Scottish Government going to pay for these new plans?

In the autumn Budget, the Chancellor said there would be no new subsidies for wind turbines – indeed all renewables – until 2025 at the earliest.

With new sites, wind farm operators will sometimes say they don’t require subsidies, but that remains to be seen.

This suggests to me, then, that the SNP is either hoping for a change in policy, or it is being deliberately vague in its ambitions. Does it believe any of this?

If all these turbines were to be built, the Government faces another problem: an enormous expansion of the grid to serve them. You need an awful lot of wire to get wind from the wind farms to the interconnectors that serve the grid.

As Scotland knows from the controversial Beauly to Denny power line, this is not an easy thing – it’s expensive and ugly – and someone has to pay for it.

A few people may well benefit from the further expansion of wind turbines in Scotland – land owners and wind farm operators, perhaps – but it is unlikely to be the Scottish people.

No automatic alt text available.

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Greg_L-W.

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Wind Turbines Prove To Be A Failure In Scotland – I’ll Bet You Guessed The Reason Given ‘The Wind’! …

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Wind Turbines Prove To Be A Failure In Scotland – I’ll Bet You Guessed The Reason Given ‘The Wind’! ,,,
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Hi,

Slump in electricity despite wind farms

  • Scottish Daily Mail
  • 22 Dec 2017
  • By Michael Blackley Scottish Political Editor

THE amount of electricity generated in Scotland slumped to a record low last year – partly because the weather was not right for wind farms.

Official figures show that though the number of wind turbines rocketed by nearly a fifth last year, they managed to produce less electricity than the year before.

Combined with the closure of Longannet power station, it meant total electricity production in Scotland fell to the lowest figure recorded.

Opponents said the statistics show that the SNP’s ‘obsession’ with onshore wind is ‘ill-conceived’.

An energy report published by the UK Government yesterday showed that the total amount of electricity produced north of the Border was lower last year than for more than a decade.

While the total capacity of wind turbines increased by 17 per cent, the amount of renewable energy generated slumped by nearly 11 per cent.

The UK Government’s energy trends report states: ‘Of Scotland’s generation in 2016, a record high of 43 per cent was from renewables, up from 42 per cent in 2015. This was mainly due to the large fall in coal generation following the closure of Longannet.

‘Absolute renewable generation decreased by 3.3 terawatt hours (TWh) in Scotland as a result of unfavourable weather conditions despite increasing capacity, a 17 per cent increase in wind capacity and a 23 per cent increase in solar capacity.’

The new figures show that the total amount of electricity generated by renewables fell from 21,759 gigawatt hours (GWh) in 2015 to 19,676 GWh in 2016. Wind, wave and solar generated 12,815 GWh last year, compared to 14,100 GWh in 2015.

Total electricity generated fell from 51,351 GWh to 45,845 GWh, which was lower than any of the previous 13 years.

Scottish Tory energy spokesman Alexander Burnett said: ‘This is an utterly ridiculous state of affairs.

‘We have plenty of wind, so this clearly suggests the SNP obsession with windfarms is ill-conceived.

‘Perhaps it’s time the SNP opened its mind to other sources like shale extraction.’

The Scottish Government this week published proposals for a mass expansion in the number of wind farms. Developments in the pipeline will already increase the number of turbines from 3,335 to 6,292.

The Scottish Government yesterday stated that output from renewables in the first three quarters of this year has been 19 per cent higher than the same period of 2016.

It also pointed out that renewables provided a record 42.9 per cent of Scotland’s total electricity generated in 2016.

Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: ‘Scotland is on track for a record year of renewable electricity generation.

‘We will continue to support the renewable energy sector to grow further in Scotland.’

A spokesman for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: ‘Our diverse and flexible energy mix ensures that the UK’s electricity supplies remain secure, and as these statistics show, we generated more electricity in 2016 compared with 2015.’

WT - FALL IN ELECTRICITY 01

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Hanley / Stroat Wind Turbine Spin by Applicant Regarding Its Rejection Again …

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Hanley / Stroat Wind Turbine Spin by Applicant Regarding Its Rejection Again …
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Hi,

I do not believe it would be unreasonable to wonder if the degree of bias in this article might reflect the amount of advertising garnerted or hoped for from the prime subject of the article!

Clearly the Council was not only unwise but it has now been adjudgedlegally wrong to permit effective bribes by the applicant to influence their planning decision. It is worth noting that the subsidies for installing Wind Turbines are paid by tax payers and also from a levy on fuel bills – thus the claims of community benefit were in fact effectively being paid by the community to the community! Some bribe.

Effectively the the Courts have with consistency sided with the wishes of the clear majority of those effected by this application where it has been cleartly shown that the local community have been opposed to the immense & damaging instalation, despite our own Council made the vexatious decision to oppose the rate payers!

You will note that there is no balanced claim in the article showing just how incredibly environmentally damaging Wind Turbines are and just how unreliable and ridiculous the pretence they are beneficial is – nor how ineffective a source of energy they are and the irrefutable fact that the CO2 output in their manufacture is almost impossible for them to make compensation for in their working life.

It is worthy of note that the government has advocated that no further on land applications are considered – primarily of course because they are neither fit for purpose nor cost effective and are undeniably hugely ecologically damaging!

The lies presented by scoundrels seeking personal gain from these monstrosities are quite staggering, just as with the manner in which effective bribes are offered so that applicants can tap the system for these money spinning subsidies.

Forest of Dean wind turbine storm continues

By George Henderson in Planning

BLOODIED but unbowed – the group fighting to build a giant wind turbine in Tidenham were picking themselves up from the wreckage of an unfavourable court judgment this week.

The Woolaston-based Resilience Centre which operates community turbines at St Briavels and Alvington, has been fighting against a court judgment in 2016 which quashed planning permission for a third turbine in Tidenham.

And this week, the Court of Appeal upheld the previous judgment that the planning permission granted by Forest of Dean District Council was unlawful because it took into account the scheme’s financial donations to the community.

The donations – promised by the Resilience Centre to total between £500,000 – £1,100,000 – were to be administered through a Community Benefit Society formed under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014.

The council accepted that the donations had been taken into account in granting the permission.

The question for the Court was whether that approach was lawful.

This week Lord Justice McFarlane, Lord Justice Davis and Lord Justice Hikinbottom handed down their judgment which upheld the decision of the previous hearing.

But Sue Clarke, who heads the Resilience Centre, said the group still has a number of legal options to consider before it concedes defeat.

“Obviously we and the community were all very disappointed by the court’s decision,” she said.

“But there is a possibility of further action with a number of options open to us.”

The judges’ decision boiled down to their ruling that the financial benefit to the community should not have been regarded as ‘material’ to the granting of planning permission.

To view the original article CLICK HERE.

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Greg_L-W.

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Full Text of Court of Appeal Judgement Against Stroat Wind Turbine 14-Dec-2017 …

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Full Text of Court of Appeal Judgement Against Stroat Wind Turbine 14-Dec-2017 …
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Hi,

WT – Judgment – 14-Dec-2017[15953]

.

 

Neutral Citation Number: [2017] EWCA Civ 2102
Case No: C1/2016/2699

IN THE COURT OF APPEAL (CIVIL DIVISION)

ON APPEAL FROM THE HIGH COURT

QUEEN’S BENCH DIVISION (PLANNING COURT)

THE HON MR JUSTICE DOVE

[2016] EWHC 1349 (Admin)

Cardiff Civil and Family Justice Centre

2 Park Street, Cardiff, CF10 1ET

 

Date: 14/12/17

Before :

 

LORD JUSTICE McFARLANE

 

LORD JUSTICE DAVIS

and

LORD JUSTICE HICKINBOTTOM

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

 

Between :

 

  (1)   FOREST OF DEAN DISTRICT COUNCIL

(2)   RESILIENT ENERGY SERVERNDALE LIMITED

 

 

 

Appellants

  – and –  
   

THE QUEEN ON THE APPLICATION OF

PETER WRIGHT

 

 

 

Respondent

 

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

 

Paul Cairnes QC and James Corbet Burcher (instructed by Helen Blundell,

Solicitor Forest of Dean District Council) for the First Appellant

Martin Kingston QC and Jenny Wigley (instructed by Burges Salmon LLP)

for the Second Appellant

Neil Cameron QC and Zack Simons (instructed by Harrison Grant Solicitors)

for the Respondent

 

Hearing date: 8 November 2017

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Approved Judgment

 

 

 

 

Lord Justice Hickinbottom:

 

Introduction

  1. These appeals raise the single issue of whether, on an application for development proposed to be undertaken by a community benefit society, a proposed donation to the community of a proportion of the turnover derived from the development is a material consideration.
  2. The issue arises in the context of an application to the First Appellant local planning authority (“the Council”) by the Second Appellant (“Resilient Severndale”) for change of use of agricultural land to wind turbine, and the installation of a single, community-scale 500kW wind turbine at Severndale Farm, Tidenham, Gloucestershire (“the proposed development”). It was proposed that the turbine would be erected and run by a community benefit society, and the application included a promise that an annual donation would be made to a local community fund based on 4% of turnover from the operation of the turbine over its projected life of 25 years, to be achieved by way of a condition that the development be undertaken by such a society with the donation as part of the scheme.
  3. The Council granted full planning permission for the proposed development, with such a condition. In doing so, in favour of the proposed development, they expressly took into account the donation.  The Respondent (“Mr Wright”), a local resident, sought judicial review of the decision, on the basis that the promised donation was not a material planning consideration, and the Council had acted unlawfully in taking it into account.  In his judgment of 9 June 2016, Dove J agreed with that proposition, and quashed the grant of planning permission.  In these appeals, the Council and Resilient Severndale contend he was wrong to do so.
  4. Before us, Paul Cairnes QC and James Corbet Burcher of Counsel appeared for the Council, Martin Kingston QC and Jenny Wigley of Counsel for Resilient Severndale, and Neil Cameron QC and Zack Simons of Counsel for Mr Wright.

The Policy Background

  1. The Government wish to encourage renewable energy projects, and consider local communities have a part to play. In October 2014, the Department of Energy and Climate Change published a document entitled “Community Benefits from Onshore Wind Developments: Best Practice Guidance for England” (“the DECC Guidance”), in which the Ministerial Foreword said:

“Communities hosting renewable energy play a vital role in meeting our national need for secure, clean energy and it is absolutely right that they should be recognised and rewarded for their contribution.”

The introduction goes on to state that:

“Communities have a unique and exciting opportunity to share in the benefits that their local wind energy resources can bring through effective partnerships with those developing wind energy.”

  1. The document describes community benefits, in this context, in the following terms:

“Community benefits can bring tangible rewards to communities which host wind projects, over and above the wider economic, energy security and environmental benefits that arise from those developments.  They are an important way of sharing the value that wind energy can bring with the local community.

Community benefits include:

  1. Community benefit funds – voluntary monetary payments from an onshore wind developer to the community, usually provided via an annual cash sum, and
  2. Benefits in-kind – other voluntary benefits which the developer provides to the community, such as in-kind works, direct funding of projects, one-off funding, local energy discount scheme or any other non-necessary site-specific benefits.

In addition to the above, there can also be:

  1. Community investment (Shared ownership) – this is where a community has a financial stake, or investment in a scheme. This can include co-operative schemes and online investment platforms.
  2. Socio-economic community benefits – job creation, skills training, apprenticeships, opportunities for educational visits and raising awareness of climate change.
  3. Material benefits – derived from actions taken directly related to the development such as improved infrastructure.

This document contains guidance on community benefit funds and benefits in-kind (points 1 and 2).  The provision of these community benefits is an entirely voluntary undertaking by wind farm developers.  They are not compensation payments.

Material and socio-economic benefits will be considered as part of any planning application for the development and will be determined by local planning authorities.  They are not covered by this guidance…”.

  1. Prior to the DECC Guidance, many onshore wind developers already provided voluntary contributions in various forms over the lifetime of the project. The document goes on to say:

“The wind industry through RenewableUK has consolidated this voluntary approach by coming together to produce a protocol which commits developers of onshore wind projects above 5MW (megawatts) in England to provide a community benefit package to the value of at least £5,000 per MW of installed capacity per year, index-linked for the operational lifetime of the project.

Community benefits offer a rare opportunity for the local community to access resources, including long-term, reliable and flexible funding to directly enhance their local economy, society and environment….

The best outcomes tend to be achieved when benefits are tailored to the needs of the local community…”.

The DECC Guidance refers to a number of case studies where community benefit funds have been set up by wind farm developers, e.g. by West Coast RWE Innogy UK in respect of the Farr Wind Farm in Scotland (£3.5m over the lifetime of the wind farm).

  1. However, the DECC Guidance makes clear the relationship between the guidance it gives in the context of renewable energy policy, and the planning regime. Under the heading “Planning phase guidance; background to community benefits”, it states

“This document contains guidance on community benefit funds and benefits-in kind.  The provision of these community benefits are entirely voluntary undertakings by wind farm developers and should be related to the needs of the local community.

These community benefits are separate from the planning process and are not relevant to the decision as to whether the planning application for a wind farm should be approved or not – i.e. they are not ‘material’ to the planning process.  This means they should not generally be taken into account by local planning authorities when deciding the outcome of a planning application for a wind farm development.

Currently the only situation in which financial arrangements are considered material to planning is under the Localism Act as amended (2011), which allows a local planning authority to take into account financial benefits where there is a direct connection between the intended use of the funds and the development.

And Planning Practice Guidance [see paragraph 10 below] states, ‘Local planning authorities may wish to establish policies which give positive weight to renewable and low carbon energy initiatives which have clear evidence of local community involvement and leadership.

Socio-economic and material benefits from onshore wind developments are types of benefit that can be taken into consideration when a planning application is determined by the local planning authority and are not covered by this Guidance.”

  1. In addition, paragraph 97 of the National Planning Policy Framework (“the NPPF”) states:

“To help increase the supply of renewable and low carbon energy, local planning authorities should recognise the responsibility on all communities to contribute to energy generation from renewable or low carbon sources.  They should:

  • Have a positive strategy to promote energy from renewable and low carbon sources;
  • Design their policies to maximise renewable and low carbon energy development while ensuring that adverse impacts are addressed satisfactorily, including cumulative landscape and visual impacts;
  • Consider identifying suitable areas for renewable and low carbon energy sources, and supporting infrastructure, where this would help secure the development of such sources;
  • Support community-led initiatives for renewable and low carbon energy, including developments outside such areas being taken forward through neighbourhood planning…”.
  1. Planning Practice Guidance: Renewable and low carbon energy (ID: 5-004-20140306) contains guidance in relation to the approach to be taken to community-led renewable energy, which builds on paragraph 97 of the NPPF. Under the heading “What is the role for community led renewable energy initiatives?”, it states:

“Community initiatives are likely to play an increasingly important role and should be encouraged as a way of providing positive local benefit from renewable energy development. Further information for communities interested in developing their own initiatives is provided by the Department of Energy and Climate Change.  Local planning authorities may wish to establish policies which give positive weight to renewable and low carbon energy initiatives which have clear evidence of local community involvement and leadership.”

The Factual Background

  1. The Resilience Centre Limited (“the Resilience Centre”) was established in 2009 by Andrew Clarke and his wife. The rationale for the company is set out in Mr Clarke’s statement dated 2 December 2015.  It focuses on social investment, i.e. “the provision and use of capital to generate social as well as financial returns”, with the aim “to help build resilience in society in the context of climate change, and natural resource limitations and with a view to improving local economies” (paragraph 4).
  2. The Resilience Centre has sought to pursue that aim, and in particular overcome the problems of up-front community energy project costs, which are at risk if the project does not ultimately proceed, by developing “the Resilient Energy Community Model”. This involves the Resilience Centre and the landowner obtaining planning permission, but with a commitment to open up the project to individual investors from the community once planning consent has been obtained.  Since the Cooperative and Community Benefits Act 2014 came into force on 1 August 2014, their legal structure of choice has been a community benefit society registered under that Act, which, as I understand it, has various tax advantages.  By section 2(2)(a)(ii) of that Act, it is a condition of registration that “it has been shown to the satisfaction of the [Financial Conduct Authority]… that the business of the society is being, or is intended to be, conducted for the benefit of the community”.
  3. The Resilient Energy Community Model is focused upon the community, the socio-economic benefits of the model being said to include the following.
    1. The wind turbine is of “community scale”, i.e. it meets or helps to meet local energy needs, but does not seek to maximise output or exceed those needs.
    2. Through back-to-back power purchase arrangements, it both reduces the costs of energy locally and retains a greater proportion of money paid in power bills within the local economy.
  • It retains business rates within the district.
  1. It creates local jobs directly and indirectly.
  2. It provides a local educational resource.
  1. It also gives more direct financial benefit to the local community, in two ways. First, individuals in the community are invited to invest through a share issue in the relevant community benefit society, with the value of the contribution of the Resilience Centre and landowner being independently valued and reflected in their share in the project.  Expected returns for investors is in the region of 7% per annum.  Second, once the wind turbine is operational, a percentage of operating turnover is donated to the local community “to aid in building community resilience by helping the community to address current needs and future challenges” (paragraph 5 of Mr Clarke’s statement).  These funds are allocated to community causes by a panel of local people.
  2. This model has been used by the Resilience Centre, through single project limited companies and community benefit societies, for 500kW community wind power projects at Alvington (which is in the Council’s area) and St Briavels (which is just outside) which are operative, and two further projects at Kingswood, Stroud have obtained planning consent.

The Application

  1. Resilient Severndale, through the Resilience Centre as its agent, applied to the Council for planning permission for the proposed development on 29 January 2015. The application was accompanied by, amongst other things, a Planning Statement and an Environmental Report, and was supplemented by further letters from the Resilience Centre dated 10 and 15 July 2017.  The application focused on both the benefits of renewable wind energy and the new policy emphasis on the engagement of local people in the energy process.  The application documents therefore emphasised the community-focused nature of the development, paragraph 5.9.1 of the Environmental Report setting out the various benefits to the community which I have already outlined (see paragraph 12 above).
  2. One benefit was said to be:

“Sustainable Community Benefits over life of turbine averaging £40,000/MW installed capacity = 8X latest Government recommendations.”

That needs a little explanation.  As I have described, the DECC Guidance refers to a protocol which commits developers of wind farms with a capacity of more than 5MW to provide a community benefit package of £5,000 per MW of installed capacity each year (see paragraph 7 above).  A commitment was proposed here, where the proposed development was for only 0.5MW, of a donation to a community benefit fund of 4% of turnover or approximately £20,000 per year, equivalent to £40,000 per MW (i.e. eight times the protocol level).

  1. The Officer’s Report dated 7 July 2015 (“the First Officer’s Report”) advised the Council’s Planning Committee (“the Committee”) that the community benefit fund was not a material consideration that could be taken into account when considering the planning application, because (i) there were no clear controls and/or enforcement measures that could ensure the benefit was delivered, and in any event, (ii) the fund could be used to finance projects that were unconnected to low carbon energy generation.
  2. Resilient Severndale submitted further observations to the Council, which resulted in consideration of the application being deferred. Further submissions were then made, to the effect that the project would commit up to £1.1m in direct community benefits (i.e. 4% of turnover, together with £600,000 that it was estimated would be earned by the turbine over and above the community benefit society’s commitments which, under the terms of the society, would also be dedicated to the community), and relying upon a successful appeal to an inspector in relation to Alvington Wind Farm.  Further Officer’s Reports were then produced, the final report dated 11 August 2015 concluding that the community benefit fund was a material consideration in favour of the development.
  3. That day (11 August 2015), the Committee approved the application, the minutes expressly recording that, in doing so, “members had included the local community donation fund as a material contribution in favour of the proposals as part and parcel of the basket of socio-economic benefits which were relied upon by [Resilient Severndale]”.
  4. On 30 September 2015, the planning application was granted subject to a number of conditions, including condition 28 (a pre-commencement condition) which provided as follows:

“The development is to be undertaken via a Community Benefit Society set up for the benefit of the community and registered with the Financial Conduct Authority under the Co-Operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014.  Details of the Society number to be provided to the local planning authority prior to commencement of construction.

Reason: to ensure the project delivers social, environmental and economic benefits for the communities of Tidenham and the broader Forest of Dean.”

That was the vehicle for ensuring that the promised community benefit fund would be delivered.

  1. The fund, once set up, will be allocated by a panel of local individuals established for that task; and the objects of the fund will include any community project. There was evidence before the judge that the St Briavels Wind Turbine Community Fund had been distributed for (amongst other things) the creation of a village handyman service, the maintenance of publicly accessible defibrillators in the village, the purchase of waterproof clothing to enable young members of the community to participate in scheduled outdoor activities in inclement weather, and to provide a meal at a local public house for the members of the St Briavels Lunch Club (a lunch club for older people) and club volunteers.

The Claim

  1. Mr Wright challenged the decision to grant planning permission by way of judicial review, on the basis that the community benefit fund donation was not a material consideration. He submitted that it did not serve a planning purpose, it was not related to land use, and it had no real connection to the proposed development.  In his judgment of 9 June 2016, Dove J accepted those submissions.
  2. Before this court, Mr Cairnes for the Council and Mr Kingston for Resilient Severndale submit that Dove J erred in law in his approach to the donation and his conclusion that it was not a material consideration in the planning decision-making process. They submit that, properly considered, the community benefit fund donation serves a planning purpose, and there is a real connection between it and the proposed development.  Furthermore, they submit, the judge’s conclusion that the donation is, as a matter of law, immaterial to the planning decision-making process is in contradiction to national policy and guidance which identifies renewable energy development as a positive material consideration.  Mr Kingston submits that the community fund donation is an inherent feature of the community involvement in the proposed development; and the result of the judgment, he submits, is to render that aspect of Government policy unlawful.

The Law

  1. The only issue that arises in these appeals is whether the proposed community benefit fund donation of a proportion of the turnover derived from the development was properly taken into account as a material consideration by the Council when it considered and approved the planning application for the proposed development.
  2. Section 70(2) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (“the 1990 Act”) provides that, in dealing with an application for planning permission, a planning authority must have regard to all “material considerations”, including “any local finance consideration” defined in section 70(4) (added from 15 January 2012, by section 143(4) of the Localism Act 2011) as “(a) a grant or other financial assistance that has been, or will or could be, provided to a relevant authority by a Minister of the Crown, or (b) sums that a relevant authority has received, or will receive, in payment of Community Infrastructure Levy”.
  3. What amounts to a material consideration has been considered in a series of cases to which we were referred, including Newbury District Council v Secretary of State for the Environment [1981] AC 578 (“Newbury”), Westminster City Council v Great Portland Estates PLC [1985] 1 AC 661, R v Plymouth City Council ex parte Plymouth and South Devon Cooperative Society Limited [1994] 67 P&CR 78, Tesco Stores Limited v Secretary of State for the Environment [1995] 1 WLR 759, R (Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Limited) v Wolverhampton City Council [2010] UKSC 20; [2011] 1 AC 437 and Aberdeen City and Shire Strategic Development Planning Authority v Elsick Development Company Limited [2017] UKSC 66 (“Aberdeen”). In his judgment at [20] and following, Dove J comprehensively and helpfully reviewed these cases (save for Aberdeen, which post-dated his judgment).  I can be relatively brief.  The relevant law is uncontroversial.  Indeed, all parties rely upon the same well-established propositions.
  4. So far as relevant to these appeals, the following propositions can be drawn from the cases.
    1. A planning decision-maker has a statutory duty to have regard to all material considerations; and to have no regard to considerations which are not material. Whilst the weight to be given to a material consideration is a matter for the decision-maker, what amounts to a material consideration is a question of law for the court to determine.
    2. The fact that a matter may be regarded as desirable (for example, as being of benefit to the local community or wider public) does not in itself make that matter a material consideration for planning purposes. For a consideration to be material, it must have a planning purpose (i.e. it must relate to the character or the use of land, and not be solely for some other purpose no matter how well-intentioned and desirable that purpose may be); and it must fairly and reasonably relate to the permitted development (i.e. there must be a real – as opposed to a fanciful, remote, trivial or de minimis – connection with the development).  These criteria of materiality, oft-cited since, are derived from the speech of Viscount Dilhorne in Newbury at page 599H, and known as “the Newbury criteria”.  They were very recently confirmed by the Supreme Court in Aberdeen (at [29] per Lord Hodge JSC, giving the judgment of the court).
  • For a benefit to be material, it does not have to be necessary to make the development acceptable in planning terms; although, by section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and regulation 122 of the Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations 2010 (SI 2010 No 948), a planning obligation may only be taken into account in the determination of any planning application if it is so necessary. Although paragraph 206 of the NPPF provides that “planning conditions should only be imposed where they are necessary…”, the statutory requirement for necessity does not apply to the attachment of a condition to the grant of planning permission.
  1. Financial considerations may be relevant to a planning decision. For example, financial dependency of one part of a composite development on another part may be material, as may financial viability if it relates to the development.  However, something which is funded from the development or otherwise offered by the developer will not, by virtue of that fact alone, be sufficiently related to, or connected with, the development to be a material consideration.
  2. Off-site benefits are not necessarily immaterial. An off-site benefit may be material if it satisfies the Newbury

The Appellant’s Case

  1. Mr Cairnes and Mr Kingston accepted that the donation to a community benefit fund was an off-site benefit, and accepted that therefore, in order to be material, it must have a planning purpose and have a real connection with the proposed development. However, they submitted that Dove J erred in concluding that the proposed donation “is an untargeted contribution of off-site benefits which is not designed to address a planning purpose” (at [55] of his judgment); and that there was “no real connection between the development of the wind turbine and the gift of monies to be used for any purpose which appointed members of the community consider their community would derive benefit” (at [56]).  He erred, it is said, both in restricting the scope of the concept of “serving a planning purpose” and thus finding that the community benefit fund donation did not satisfy that criterion; and in finding that it did not relate to the development.
  2. Their submissions were wide-ranging, but three broad strands are apparent.
  3. First, in respect of a planning purpose, Mr Cairnes submitted that the community benefit fund donation is capable of providing – and will in fact provide – a “positive socio-economic impact within a confirmed community-led structure, reasonably proximate to the development itself”. Those benefits, and the “community resilience” that will arise as a result, directly engage with the way in which the land is used and communities are built.  The community benefit fund is not only sourced from the proposed development as a percentage of turnover (so, as Mr Kingston vividly put it, “the community benefits from every turn of the turbine blades”), but through a community-focused and community-led structure in the form of the community benefit society.  The fund therefore serves a planning purpose.
  4. Mr Kingston accepted that the community involvement through the community benefit fund does not relate to land use “in the strict sense”; but, he submitted, it fulfils a planning purpose in improving sustainability of communities, and is not less related to land use than (e.g.) the planning policy in relation to affordable housing, i.e. the policy encouragement to limit the occupancy of some housing to those with limited financial needs, which is recognised as a material consideration in planning applications.
  5. Second, Mr Kingston submitted that the community benefit fund donation falls within the scope of planning purpose, because it has a positive effect of a “constraint on the operation of the development” for the benefit of the community: it is the beneficial financial result of constraining the development to operate only for the benefit of the community. In this regard, the fact that the developer would be a community benefit society, rather than a strictly commercial enterprise, is vital.  The community benefit fund is not a gift or a bribe to obtain planning permission: it is an inextricable part of the scheme, and an inherent consequence of the development being community-led.  It would be inappropriate and wrong to disaggregate the community benefit fund, as a financial consequence of the scheme, from the other aspects of the scheme.  He submitted that the DECC Guidance, properly construed, draws an important distinction between community benefit funds that are sourced from a commercial venture, and those sourced from a community project.  Every payment from the fund would evidence continuing community involvement in the operation of the scheme, from which the fund would be derived.  There can be confidence that the relevant fund will be only used for local community purposes because, not only will it be distributed by a committee of local people, but the statutory provisions under which the community benefit society will be set up requires it to be conducted for the benefit of the community.  The Financial Conduct Authority has to be satisfied that that requirement is met.  Mr Cairnes went so far as to refer to “the unique nature of the financial contribution in the instant case”.
  6. Third, both Mr Cairnes and Mr Kingston submitted that the judge was wrong to consider that the classes of material considerations are closed; and, in particular, he failed to take into account the recent evolution in policy, which should be mirrored by a change in approach to material considerations. What amounts to a material consideration for planning purposes is flexible and dynamic, and responsive to evolving planning policy.  The DECC Guidance, NPPF and the PPG positively support both renewable energy, and specifically community involvement and leadership in local renewable energy projects.  There is thus strong policy support for treating developments such as this, on a planning application, more benevolently than a commercially-operated wind turbine.  In any event, the conclusion of Dove J requires a planning authority to ignore these relevant policy factors, and thus creates a “policy contradiction”.  Mr Kingston submitted that the judgment effectively renders unlawful the Government policy encouraging positive consideration of community involvement in renewable energy; and whether it is unlawful or not is, he submits, the central issue in this appeal.

Discussion

  1. Skilfully as those submissions were made, I am unpersuaded by them.
  2. Both Mr Cairnes and Mr Kingston – in my view, rightly – accepted that, on a planning application, it would be unlawful for a planning authority to take into consideration a donation to a community benefit fund by a commercial wind farm developer, because such a donation would not be a material consideration. For similar reasons, they accepted that an authority could not require such a donation as a planning obligation, whoever the developer might be.  However, they each submitted that the circumstances of this case, notably the voluntary donation derived from a community-led project and made to benefit the community, were materially different; but that submission faced the difficulty that, as I have indicated (see paragraph 28(ii) and (iv) above), neither the source of the funds nor the fact that a matter is regarded as beneficial to the public make a matter a material consideration for planning purposes (a matter to which I return below: see paragraph 51 and following).
  3. That led to Mr Kingston, in particular, submitting that the community benefits of this development have to be looked at as a whole, because the donation for the community benefit fund cannot be disaggregated from the other community socio-economic benefits that will derive from the development, some of which (it is common ground) are material in a planning context. However, it was not suggested that the 4% of turnover donation was “necessary” for the purposes of the grant of planning permission; nor could any explanation be given as to why the figure of 4% (rather than 3% or 5% or some other figure) was offered.  Nor was that donation “inherent” in the project, any more than an offer of a similar donation by a commercial wind farm developer would be “inherent” in his development.  In any event, an immaterial consideration cannot be made material by simply aggregating it with other considerations, some of which are or may be material.
  4. Nor was I impressed by Mr Kingston’s submission that the DECC Guidance distinguished between donations to the community made by a commercial developer and those made by a community developer, for two primary reasons.
  5. First, I am unconvinced that the nature of the proposed development scheme here is essentially different from what Mr Kingston described as a “commercial” scheme. I accept that there are differences in emphasis between the type of project Mr Kingston described: a commercial scheme may be more concerned with maximising profit, whereas in the proposed development the community would have more of an interest in the scheme at the expense of some profit.  Just as a commercial wind farm may not be entirely concerned with profit – as I have described, developers of such a wind farm are expected to make a voluntary donation into a community benefit fund – the proposed scheme here is not entirely altruistic.  The Resilience Centre is committed to local renewable energy; but, as Mr Clarke’s statement makes clear – and entirely understandably – it focuses upon the use of capital to generate financial, as well as social, returns (see paragraph 11 above).  It intends making a profit on this project, as a return for the at risk investment it has made.  Similarly, the landowner intends making a profit from his investment, his stake in the project being based on the value of his land with the benefit of planning permission.  If the project is opened up to individual investors, although they will be local, not all local people will be able to afford to invest and the number of such investors are likely to be relatively few – we were told that about one hundred, out of a community of about 4,500, have expressed an interest.  Those who invest will expect an estimated 7% per annum return.  Therefore, in each scheme, although I accept the emphasis and the distribution of income might be different, there are usually elements of both profit and voluntary contributions to the community.
  6. Second, in relying upon the DECC Guidance, Mr Kingston faced the difficulty of the document itself stating that community benefits are “separate from the planning process and are not relevant to the decision as to whether the planning application for a wind farm should be approved or not – i.e. they are not ‘material’ to the planning process” (see paragraph 8 above). He sought to address this difficulty by reference to the introduction to the DECC Guidance, which states that “material and socio-economic benefits will be considered as part of any planning application for the development and will be determined by local planning authorities.  They are not covered by this guidance.”  Mr Kingston submitted that the DECC Guidance draws a distinction between a community venture and a commercial venture with community benefits.  He submitted that, on a proper construction of the Guidance, community benefit funds and benefits in kind as the terms are used in the DECC Guidance introduction are restricted to such benefits as might be provided by otherwise commercial wind farm developers; whilst community investment, socio-economic community benefits and material benefits, as those terms are used, are restricted to community-led and -focused projects such as this.  On this analysis, the community benefit fund in this proposed development is an essential part of a bundle of socio-economic benefits which, it is submitted, the Guidance acknowledges are material planning considerations.
  7. There are in my view a number of difficulties with that analysis.
  8. First, a basic defect in the analysis is that, in my view, on a true reading the DECC Guidance simply does not draw the distinction between commercial and community wind developments which Mr Kingston seeks to rely upon. The community benefit fund in this case – the 4% of turnover year-on-year – falls firmly within the definition of “community benefit fund” given in the DECC Guidance, i.e. “voluntary payments from an onshore wind developer to the community, usually provided via an annual cash sum”.  It does not fall within the definition of “socio-economic community benefits”, i.e. “job creation, skills training, apprenticeships, opportunities for educational visits and arranging awareness if climate change”.  Nor does it fall within “community investment”, because it is clear that this category involves shared ownership, i.e. “where a community has a financial stake, or investment in the scheme”, which is not the case in a community benefit fund in which the community share in a benefit not ownership.  There is nothing in the Guidance to suggest that a donation which falls within “community benefit funds” is restricted to a donation from so-called “commercial” developers.
  9. That the community benefit fund in this case is distinct from the other socio-economic benefits (some of which are material planning considerations) was recognised by Resilient Severndale in its Summary Grounds of Opposition to Mr Wright’s judicial review, where it was said:

“12.  By letter of 15 July, [Resilient Severndale] confirmed:

  • The project would be brought forward by a community benefit society.
  • Separately to this, £500,000 would be donated to the local community over a period of 20 years.

[Resilient Severndale] confirmed on 7 August 2015 that it would accept a condition securing the first of the above.  Only this matter, not the community fund, is covered by condition 28 which the Committee elected to impose.  In this letter [Resilient Severndale]… challenged the approach of the officers to date in failing to refer properly to the social and economic benefits of the project.

  1. It is important to be aware that throughout the application process there was a clear distinction made between:

(a)   the establishment of a community investment scheme; and

(b)  the annual community donation.

  1. In this way the Committee were being directed to clear and demonstrable social and economic impacts on the local community (in this case beneficial) on the understanding that they, the Committee members, were entitled to take these benefits into account.”
  2. Therefore, from its letters of 15 July and 7 August 2015, and from its pleading in the judicial review, Resilient Severndale’s offer was clear, i.e. a community benefit fund donation distinct from the other benefits of the development. In my view, that correctly recognised the reality that the donation to the community benefit fund was outside the “socio-economic benefits” of the project and was, as the DECC Guidance confirmed, outside the scope of material planning considerations.  Given the nature of the offer, it is unsurprising that the First Officer’s Report advised the Committee that the community benefit fund was not a material consideration (see paragraph 18 above).
  3. I add for the sake of completeness, that neither does the fund fall within section 70(4) of the 1990 Act (see paragraph 26 above). That sub-section was added by the Localism Act 2011, as part of a suite of planning provisions which included the NPPF.  It set out “local finance considerations” which are to be treated as material considerations for planning purposes.  Of course, notwithstanding a failure of such consideration to comply with the Newbury criteria, Parliament through statute, unlike the executive through policy, could do that.  It is notable, however, that Parliament has not amended those provisions to include a community benefit fund donation, by whomever made, as such a material consideration.
  4. Second, at a higher level, although the DECC Guidance is not planning policy, even planning policy cannot convert something immaterial into a material consideration for planning purposes. Mr Kingston submitted that changing policy in relation to affordable housing resulted in a change of approach of the courts to accept affordable housing needs as a material consideration in, notably, Mitchell v Secretary of State for the Environment (1994) 69 P&CR 60.  However, that was a very different case from this.  As Saville LJ (with whom Balcombe LJ and Sir Roger Parker agreed) indicated (at page 62), it was uncontroversial that the need for housing in a particular area was a material consideration for planning purposes: Mitchell merely confirmed that there was no difference in principle between the need for housing generally, and the need for particular types of housing.  Contrary to Mr Kingston’s submission, I do not consider that Balcombe LJ’s short judgment suggests otherwise.  The issue was raised in the context of a challenge to an affordable housing policy, and whether that policy offended the Newbury  Balcombe LJ, like Saville LJ (with whom he agreed, and said that his observations did no more than elaborate Saville LJ’s leading judgment), merely confirmed that the need for affordable housing was a matter properly relating to the character and/or use of the land.  That is one of the Newbury criteria.  In my view, Mitchell is firmly based on conventional principles concerning the character and use of land, and did not affect the approach to material considerations.
  5. Mr Kingston frankly accepted that his reliance on a review of the affordable housing cases “maybe goes too far” (paragraph 19 of his skeleton argument). In my view, the affordable housing cases do not assist Mr Kingston’s cause: and, certainly, they do not support the proposition that, in considering whether a matter which does not satisfy the Newbury criteria can be treated as a material consideration, the court can consider how such a matter is treated by the executive government in its policy documents.
  6. In any event, whilst it is true that both paragraph 97 of the NPPF and the PPG encourage the use of renewable energy, and particularly community-led initiatives in that regard, neither encourage unrestricted gifts of money to the community; and, as Dove J said at [54] of his judgment, neither suggests that, where a proposed development is community-led, it is unnecessary to examine contributions associated with it to assess whether they satisfy the legal requirements of being a material consideration in the planning decision, i.e. the Newbury
  7. Both Mr Cairnes and Mr Kingston referred to the “policy contradiction” inherent in Dove J’s judgment, which (it is submitted) requires a planning decision-maker to ignore relevant Government policy encouraging renewable energy and, particularly, renewable energy projects which are community-focused and community-led. However, in my view, there is no such contradiction or problem.  The DECC Guidance is not part of the planning regime; nor is the Sustainable Communities Act 2007 or the Infrastructure Act 2015, which Mr Kingston also relied upon in support of the contention that the community involvement in projects is generally encouraged.  In any event, the planning regime is used to considering, in the same decision-making process, various material policies that may pull in different directions.  In respect of any proposed development, the adverse impact on one policy may have to be balanced against the policy benefits elsewhere in the regime.  There is no doubt that a policy that encourages community involvement in wind farm development may be a material consideration; but it is only material if and insofar as it complies with the Newbury  Where it does, then it is for the planning decision-maker to give it the weight that it considers appropriate.
  8. Turning to those criteria, where a financial contribution that is not a material consideration is put forward as part of an application for proposed development, it is sometimes said that that is an attempt to “buy” planning permission. In my view, that terminology (or even more pejorative terms such as “bribe”) is generally unhelpful.  In respect of materiality, the proper focus is upon the Newbury  No matter how well-intentioned the proposed donor might be (and I accept that, here, Resilient Severndale is well-intentioned), and no matter how publicly desirable such a donation might be (and I accept that, here, the proposed community benefit fund would benefit the community), such a donation will not be material for planning purposes unless it satisfies those criteria.
  9. As I have indicated (paragraph 28(ii) above), a planning purpose is one which relates to the character or use of the land. It is proposed that the donation by the developer here will be put into a community benefit fund, administered by local people for the benefit of the community, but without any other restriction, e.g. a restriction to use it for a planning purpose.  I have set out some of the beneficiaries of the similar fund set up in respect of the St Briavels Wind Farm (see paragraph 22 above).  I accept that all these are worthy community causes, but the provision of waterproofs for young people, and lunch for older people, do not seem to address any obvious planning purpose.  As Dove J found (at [48] of his judgment), “beyond being of some benefit to the local community, as recognised or defined by the local people administering the fund, there is no limitation on how the money might be used”.
  10. Nevertheless, Mr Cairnes and Mr Kingston submitted that “materiality” is a broad concept, the categories of which are never closed. This fund would benefit the community as identified by those responsible for its distribution – and, in that limited sense, contribute to the robustness or “sustainability” of that community.
  11. However, although the concept of materiality may be broad, it is not without limit; and the “categories” of materiality as set out in Dove J’s judgment, to which Mr Cairnes and Mr Kingston referred (e.g. matters which “ameliorate or address some impact on social or physical infrastructure” or “address some adverse land use consequences of the grant of permission”, or an “off-site contribution related to a planning impact”) are, in reality, merely different applications of the Newbury
  12. Mr Kingston, relying upon R (Welcome Break Group Limited and Others) v Stroud District Council [2012] EWHC 140 (Admin) (“Welcome Break”) and Richard Verdin trading as the Darnhall Estate v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2017] EWHC 2079 (Admin) (“Verdin”), submitted that the community benefit fund donation is for a planning purpose because it is “the positive effect of a constraint on the operation of the development”. It is “simply the beneficial financial result of constraining the development to operate only for the benefit of the community” (paragraph 10 of his skeleton argument).  It is therefore, he submits, similar to Welcome Break, where the development was constrained to operate in a way that benefited local employment and the sale of locally sourced food; and to Verdin, where conditions constrained the construction of the development by requiring the use of small local building firms and using local procurement initiatives.
  13. However, in my view, Welcome Break and Verdin are of no assistance to Mr Kingston, each being very different from this case on their facts. The planning obligation relating to local food resourcing and local employment in Welcome Break was clearly, as found by Bean J (as he then was), directly related to the use of the land and the development; as was the condition relating to the use of local building firms in Verdin.  In this case, as I have described, it is envisaged that the donation will or may fund community causes which have no possible planning purpose or relation to the proposed development.
  14. Nor is R (Copeland) v London Borough of Tower Hamlets [2010] EWHC 1845 (Admin) or R (Working Title Films Limited) v Westminster City Council [2016] EWHC 1855 (Admin), upon which Mr Kingston also relied, of any more help to his cause. Mr Kingston relied upon these cases to show that social factors can be material in the planning context: the former concerned the relationship between a fast-food take-away and a school, and the latter the provision of a community hall as part of a large development in which planning permission was granted on the basis that “the level of social and community uses and public parking significantly enhances the development”.  However, as I have described, community and social benefits may, in their proper place, be in favour of the grant of planning permission.  But neither case suggests that the Newbury criteria do not apply to such benefits.
  15. Finally, Mr Kingston submitted that the fact that the operation of a community wind turbine, for the financial benefit of the community through a community benefit fund, is in itself sufficient for that benefit to be a material consideration, because, in addition to his other arguments (which I have dealt with above), it fulfils the clear planning purpose of improving the sustainability of communities, and/or, for the community generally, it ameliorates the adverse (visual and aural) impact of the wind turbine on the community. However, this is merely a recasting of the argument that any matter which benefits the community is a material consideration for planning purposes; and it would apply equally to a community benefit fund donation offered by a “commercial” wind farm developer as much as a “community” developer.  I have already dealt with the substance of that argument.
  16. In my view, for the reasons I have given, Dove J, who referred to and applied the relevant authorities, was right to proceed on the basis that the nature of the community benefit fund donation, and the vehicle it was proposed would provide it, were not such as to preclude examination of the contributions associated with it to see whether they satisfied the legal requirements of being a material consideration in the planning decision. He was entitled to conclude that “the community donation is an untargeted contribution of off-site community benefits which is not designed to address a planning purpose” (see [55] of his judgment).  He was also entitled to conclude that there is “no real connection between the development of a wind turbine and the gift of monies to be used for any purpose which appointed members of the community consider their community would derive benefit” (see [56]).  Indeed, he was in my view, undoubtedly right to draw such conclusions: and to conclude that, consequently, the Council was not entitled to take into account as a material consideration the offer of the community benefit fund donation made as part of Resilient Severndale’s proposal, as it did.

Conclusion

  1. Although, out of deference to the arguments put before this court, I have set out my own reasons for upholding the judge below, in my view Dove J’s conclusions were correct, essentially for the reasons he gave.
  2. I would dismiss the appeals.

Lord Justice Davis :

  1. In my view, Mr Cameron QC put his finger on the real point when he said that the question here is not whether the proffered benefits in question were desirable: it is whether (in planning terms) they were material.
  2. The Appellants were not, for example, really able to explain why a 4% figure by way of community donation was chosen to be put forward. Presumably it was, at least in part, calculated that such a figure would be attractive to the planning authority.  But the implication is that a corresponding application offering, say, 5% would have been still more likely to prevail; whereas a planning application making no such offer at all possibly might have failed.  These points of themselves seem to me to cast grave doubt on whether such a proposal was in truth integral to the planning application, as the Appellants sought to say, and on whether the proposal was material in a planning sense.
  3. Nor can I see any principled basis for departing from a proper application of the Newbury approach in a case such as the present. The fact that desirable objects (renewable and sustainable energy) and worthy causes (benefits to the community) are involved cannot of themselves mandate a departure from usual principles with regard to material considerations.  In any event, in the present case this ultimately in substance was to be a commercial development.
  4. I do not propose to say more. I agree that the appeals should be dismissed for the comprehensive reasons given by Hickinbottom LJ in his judgment.  I also agree with the judgment of Dove J in the court below.

Lord Justice McFarlane :

  1. I also agree.

.

.

Regards,
Greg_L-W.

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Wind Turbine Blades: A Toxic Legacy For Centuries to Come – So Much for Saving the Planet …

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Wind Turbine Blades: A Toxic Legacy For Centuries to Come –
So Much for Saving the Planet ….
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Posted by:
Greg Lance – Watkins
Greg_L-W

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Hi,

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Wind Turbine Blades: A Toxic Legacy For Centuries to Come – So Much for Saving the Planet

***

Nightmare Of Wind Turbine Blade Disposal: 2 New Papers Expose The Environmental Nightmare Of Wind Turbine Blade Disposal

No Tricks Zone
Kenneth Richard
22 June 2017

“If the industry cannot come up with more sustainable manufacturing and disposal processes, public acceptance of wind energy would decline if the public becomes aware of these issues” – Ramirez-Tejeda et al., 2017

Despite an explosion in installed wind capacity since 1990, wind power had achieved just 0.39% of the world’s total energy consumption as of 2013.

Germany has assumed a leading role in promoting the consumption of renewable energy.  And yet even in Germany the share of energy consumption from wind power reached only 2.1% in 2016.

Despite its extremely limited infiltration as a world energy source, it is assumed that a rapid expansion of wind power will ultimately be environmentally advantageous both due to its reputation as a “clean” energy and because of the potential to contribute to reduced CO2 emissions.

Recently, however, the austere environmental impacts and health risks associated with expanding wind energy have received more attention.

For example, scientists have asserted that wind turbines are now the leading cause of multiple mortality events in bats, with 3 to 5 million bats killed by wind turbines every year.   Migratory bats in North America may face the risk of extinction in the next few decades due to wind turbine-related fatalities.

Frick et al., 2017

“Large numbers of migratory bats are killed every year at wind energy facilities. … Using expert elicitation and population projection models, we show that mortality from wind turbines may drastically reduce population size and increase the risk of extinction. For example, the hoary bat population could decline by as much as 90% in the next 50 years if the initial population size is near 2.5 million bats and annual population growth rate is similar to rates estimated for other bat species (λ = 1.01). Our results suggest that wind energy development may pose a substantial threat to migratory bats in North America.”

Wind Turbine Blades Last 20 Years…And Then They Are Tossed Into Landfills

Besides reducing wildlife populations, perhaps one of the most underrated negative side effects of building wind turbines is that they don’t last very long (less than 20 years) before they need to be replaced. And their blades aren’t recyclable. Consequently, 43 million tonnes (47 million tons) of blade waste will be added to the world’s landfills within the next few decades.

Liu and Barlow, 2017

“The blades, one of the most important components in the wind turbines, made with composite, are currently regarded as unrecyclable. With the first wave of early commercial wind turbine installations now approaching their end of life, the problem of blade disposal is just beginning to emerge as a significant factor for the future. … The research indicates that there will be 43 million tonnes of blade waste worldwide by 2050 with China possessing 40% of the waste, Europe 25%, the United States 16% and the rest of the world 19%.”

“Although wind energy is often claimed to provide clean renewable energy without any emissions during operation (U.S. Department of Energy, 2015), a detailed ecological study may indicate otherwise even for this stage. The manufacture stage is energy-intensive and is associated with a range of chemical usage (Song et al., 2009). Disposal at end-of-life must also be considered (Ortegon et al., 2012; Pickering, 2013; Job, 2014).A typical wind turbine (WT) has a foundation, a tower, a nacelle and three blades. The foundation is made from concrete; the tower is made from steel or concrete; the nacelle is made mainly from steel and copper; the blades are made from composite materials (Vestas, 2006; Tremeac and Meunier, 2009; Guezuraga et al., 2012). Considering these materials only, concrete and composites are the most environmentally problematic at end-of-life, since there are currently no established industrial recycling routes for them (Pimenta and Pinho, 2011; Job, 2013).”

In a new paper entitled  “Unsustainable Wind Turbine Blade Disposal Practices in the United States”, Ramirez-Tejeda et al. (2017) further detail the imminent and unresolved nightmare of wind turbine blade disposal. The environmental consequences and health risks are so adverse that the authors warn that if the public learns of this rapidly burgeoning problem, they may be less inclined to favor wind power expansion. Advocates of wind power are said to be “largely ignoring the issue”. It’s an “issue” that will not be going away any time soon.

In light of its minuscule share of worldwide consumption (despite explosive expansion in recent decades), perhaps it is time to at least reconsider both the benefits and the costs of wind energy expansion.

‘Adverse Environmental Consequences’ For A Rapidly Expanding Wind Power Grid

Ramirez-Tejeda et al. (2017)

“Globally, more than seventy thousand wind turbine blades were deployed in 2012 and there were 433 gigawatts (GW) of wind installed capacity worldwide at the end of 2015. Moreover, the United States’ installed wind power capacity will need to increase from 74 GW to 300 GW3 to achieve its 20% wind production goal by 2030. To meet the increasing demand, not only are more blades being manufactured, but also blades of up to 100 meters long are being designed and produced.”

“The wind turbine blades are designed to have a lifespan of about twenty years, after which they would have to be dismantled due to physical degradation or damage beyond repair. Furthermore, constant development of more efficient blades with higher power generation capacity is resulting in blade replacement well before the twenty-year life span.”

“Estimations have suggested that between 330,000 tons/year by 2028 and 418,000 tons/year by 2040 of composite material from blades will need to be disposed worldwide. That would be equivalent to the amount of plastics waste generated by four million people in the United States in 2013. This anticipated increase in blade manufacturing and disposal will likely lead to adverse environmental consequences, as well as potential occupational exposures, especially because available technologies and key economic constraints result in undesirable disposal methods as the only feasible options.”

Problems With Landfills

“Despite its negative consequences, landfilling has so far been the most commonly utilized wind turbine blade disposal method. … Landfilling is especially problematic because its high resistance to heat, sunlight, and moisture means that it will take hundreds of years to degrade in a landfill environment. The wood and other organic material present in the blades would also end up in landfills, potentially releasing methane, a potent greenhouse gas, and other volatile organic compounds to the environment.”

“The estimated cost to put blade material in landfills, not including pretreatment and transportation costs, is approximately US $60 per ton. [A typical blade may weigh 30-40 tons]. In the United Kingdom, where landfilling organics is not yet prohibited, the active waste disposal cost (which includes plastics) is approximately US $130 per ton.”

Problems With Incineration

“Incineration of blades is another disposal method with potential for energy and/or material recovery. … Combustion of GFRP is especially problematic because it can produce toxic gases, smoke, and soot that can harm the environment and humans. Carbon monoxide and formaldehyde have been reported as residue from thermal degradation of epoxy resin. Another residue is carbon dioxide, which poses concerns regarding greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, about 60% of the scrap remains as pollutant ash after the incineration process, some of which is sent to landfills, potentially contaminating the sites. Possible emission of hazardous flue gasses is also among the issues with incinerating wind turbine blades.”

“One key issue is that all these thermal processing techniques for wind turbine blades would also require fragmentation of the material into smaller pieces through mechanical processing before being fed into the reactors, increasing energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.”

Problems With Mechanical Processing

“Mechanical processing is a relatively simpler disposal method that consists of cutting, shredding, and grinding the material to separate the fibers from resins, so it can be repurposed. This process is energy intensive and produces small fiber particles with poor mechanical properties that can only be used as filler reinforcement material in the cement or asphalt industries. … The dust emitted in the grinding process of FRP creates occupational health and safety risks for workers. Inhalation, as well as skin and eye contact can produce moderate irritation to mucous membranes, skin, eyes, and coughing. Occupational exposure and prolonged inhalation of such particles have been found to produce alterations of the cellular and enzymatic components of the deep lung in humans, identified as acute alveolitis.”

Problems With Chemical Degradation

“The last method is chemical degradation, which consists of first mechanically reducing the size of the blades, then degrading them using a chemical solution. … Although no industrial-level chemical recycling of thermoset polymers has been done yet, some hazardous chemicals such as nitric acids and paraformaldehyde have been used in testing and development processes. Occupational exposure to these chemicals can produce harmful respiratory diseases including potential nasal cancer, and dermal health effects.”

Advocates Of Wind Power ‘Have Largely Ignored The Issue’

“Few individuals and organizations recognize the problems inherently related to blade recyclability. This situation creates an obstacle for promoting policy interventions to solve these problems. As a result, manufacturers, wind farm operators, and advocates have largely ignored the issue, focusing efforts on promoting wind energy and addressing other issues such as negative impacts on wildlife and noise generation.”

“If the industry cannot come up with more sustainable manufacturing and disposal processes, public acceptance of wind energy would decline if the public becomes aware of these issues, inhibiting its growth as one of the main sources of electricity generation in the United States.”

NoTricksZone

NoTricksZone flatters these things when it puts the lifespan of wind turbine blades at 20 years. The whole unit has an economic life of little more than a decade (see our post here).

Wind turbine blade failure is one of the more common features of these wondrously ‘reliable’ things: Wind Turbine Terror: Spanish Home Hit by Flying Blade – Just 1 of 3,800 Blade ‘Fails’ Every Year

And it’s not uncommon for turbine blades to fail within months of coming into operation.

At AGL’s Hallett 1 (Brown Hill) wind farm, south of Jamestown, South Australia the blades on each and every one of its 45 Suzlon S88s failed within their first year of operation, requiring their wholesale replacement.

The 2.1 MW, Indian built turbines commenced operation in April 2008. Not long into their operation, stress fractures began appearing in the 44m long blades. Suzlon (aka Senvion aka RePower) claimed that there was a “design fault” and was forced by AGL to replace the blades on all 45 turbines, under warranty.

The photos below show the stubs from those blades outside Suzlon’s Jamestown workshop. The main bodies of the blades were ground up and mixed with concrete used in the bases of other turbines erected later (the plastics in the blade are highly toxic, and contain Bisphenol A, which is so dangerous to health that the European Union and Canada have banned it):

stubs-1

stubs3

Turbine blade failures, including events where 10 tonne blades are thrown to the 4 winds (aka ‘component liberation’) are so common that we are able to finish this post with a graphic documentary, the captions are linked to the stories behind the pictures:

turbine-separation

Sigel Township, Michigan, February 2016.

turbine blade germany

Ostsee, Germany, December 2015.

BladeFailure_Spain

Pontecesco, Spain, January 2016.

blade fail

Fenner, New York, February 2016.

turbinedutchbladeaccident

Leystad, A6 Highway, Netherlands, May 2009.

turbine blade donegal

Donegal, Ireland, December 2013.

turbine001 kerry

Kerry, Ireland, January 2015.

bladethrow-shredding-ocotillo

Ocotillo, California, May 2013.

blade-whitelee_accident

Whitelee (near Glasgow), Scotland, March 2010.

And, we’ll finish with the video that strikes fear into the hearts of those unfortunate enough to live within 2 kms of these things:

Terrifying, dangerous and pointless!

And, it must be comforting to know that the liberated components depicted above (along with 3,800 odd blade fails every year) were quietly dumped in landfills to deliver their toxic cocktail into aquifers and water supplies for centuries to come.

Welcome to your wind powered future!

To view the original article CLICK HERE

.

Regards,
Greg_L-W.

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Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
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The Full Text Of The GWPF Report On The £300Bn Cost Of The CLIMATE CHANGE ACT …

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The Full Text Of The GWPF Report On The £300Bn Cost Of The CLIMATE CHANGE ACT ….
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Posted by:
Greg Lance – Watkins
Greg_L-W

eMail: Greg_L-W@BTconnect.com

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Hi,

I believe that you will find this 56 page pamphlet regarding the cost of the Climate Change Act both informative and deeply shocking.
It is widely believed that the Climate Change Act is likely to be the most expensive Act of Parliament ever passed. When you consider it is enacted based upon unsound scientific theory that is both heavily debated and widely discreditted, such as the largely dishonest claims for the efficacy of Wind Turbines and their value to the generation of power, without considering the huge environmental damage done in their manufacture and installation, plus of course the damage to both the wildlife, soil and scenery. Damage which is not only cumulative but long lasting!

The many tons of concrete and the huge amount of steel used in their construction, together with the transportation, outweighs in damage and pollution any likelihood of gain they may pretend to, both in the short term and the long term!

gwpf-peter-lilley-300bn-pamphlet-dec-2016

The full text can be found here:

gwpf-300-bn-cost-dec-2016

Regards,
Greg_L-W.

~~~~~~~~~~#########~~~~~~~~~~
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