In June last year the UK Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government recovered a number of onshore wind planning appeals because they related to proposals of major significance for the delivery of the Government’s climate change programme and energy policies.

On Friday 14 February 2014, another of these recovered decisions was released. The Secretary of State upheld the recommendation of the planning inspector and allowed the appeals for Turncole wind farm granting permission for seven turbines, road widening works and a bridge replacement. This is the first of the recovered decisions where an Inspector has recommended approval and the Secretary of State has issued a permission.

The decision notes that the Secretary of State has given careful consideration to the inspector’s weighing up of the planning balance and policy matters and agreed that the benefits of renewable energy should be given significant weight. He agreed this was sustainable development to which the presumption in favour set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) would apply and that due weight should be given to the relevant policies in existing plans according to the degree of consistency with the NPPF.

There were concerns when the appeals were recovered as to why the Secretary of State was choosing to become involved so it is re-assuring to note that the decision properly reflects the policy support that renewable energy projects should enjoy. We hope that this positive result bodes well for the recovered decisions still to be announced.”