National Trust blocks wind farm turbines

High Court overturns ruling by public inquiry inspector

The National Trust has won a battle to block a wind farm that it said would ruin views near a 17th century summer house with one of England’s oldest gardens.

In a victory for anti-wind farm campaigners, the High Court ruled against four large turbines being built on farmland in Sudborough, Northamptonshire, near the grounds of Lyveden New Bield – an unfinished building, where work stopped in 1605 – that the trust describes as a “remarkable survivor of the Elizabethan age”.

“Every legal case is different but this sets an important marker in the defence of the historic environment from inappropriate development,” said Dame Helen Ghosh, the trust’s director-general.

The trust joined English Heritage and local people to argue that the proposed wind farm would have a “very severe and highly damaging impact” on a tranquil rural setting enjoyed by thousands of visitors each year.

West Coast Energy, the independent renewable energy developer trying to build the Barnwell Manor wind farm originally wanted five turbines and had offered to plant trees to help block the sight of the project from Lyveden.

Their initial plans were rejected by the district council in 2010 but the company appealed. A public inquiry inspector said last year that four turbines could be built.

The High Court ruled against the decision to let the farm go ahead on Friday in a blow for the renewable energy industry, which is fighting the National Trust and other opponents at several other sites.

Dame Helen has said wind turbines could be “beautiful” and the charity has renewable energy equipment, such as solar panels, at a number of its properties.

But the charity has long opposed what its chairman, Sir Simon Jenkins, has described as wind farms that “blot the landscape when seen from our territory”.

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