High Court overturns planning consent for wind farm off Norfolk coast

High Court overturns planning consent for huge wind farm off Norfolk coast after resident took legal action against government over the impact on landscape and the view

  • Judge today ruled ministers were wrong to approve Norfolk Vanguard scheme
  • Raymond Pearce argued they hadn’t taken ‘cumulative impacts’ into account
  • Judge said regulations breached due to failure to evaluate available information
  • Much opposition centred around need to dig cable trench across countryside

The High Court has overturned planning consent for a huge wind farm off the Norfolk coast after a resident took legal action against the government over the impact on the landscape. 

Mr Justice Holgate ruled ministers were wrong to give the go-ahead to the Norfolk Vanguard scheme, describing it as one of the largest offshore wind farm projects in the world.

The decision was made after one man took matters into his own hands and fought the move by the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Department.

Raymond Pearce, who lives near Reepham, had raised concerns about the effects the development would have on the landscape and the view.

He argued that ministers had not taken ‘cumulative impacts’ into account and had given ‘inadequate’ reasons for not doing that.

The High Court has overturned planning consent for a huge wind farm off the Norfolk coast after a resident took legal action against the government over the impact on the landscape. Pictured: Scroby Sands offshore wind farm in Norfolk in 2008

Raymond Pearce, who lives near Reepham, had raised concerns about the effects the development would have on the landscape and the view

Much of the opposition centred around the need to dig a cable trench across the countryside – from Happisburgh to Necton – so the wind farm could connect to the National Grid

Mr Justice Holgate, who considered arguments at a High Court hearing in January, ruled in Mr Pearce’s favour on Thursday.

The judge said regulations had been breached as a result of a failure to evaluate available information relating to ‘cumulative impacts’.

Ministers had disputed Mr Pearce’s claim.

Development consent had been granted in July 2020, when Alok Sharma was business secretary, the judge heard.

Mr Justice Holgate said the Vanguard development was closely related to a second wind farm project called Norfolk Boreas. 

He said the development proposed at Necton, around 40 miles from the coast, had attracted ‘substantial objections’.

Much of the opposition centred around the need to dig a cable trench across the countryside – from Happisburgh to Necton – so the wind farm could connect to the National Grid.

Mr Pearce was one of those to voice concerns, given the trenches would pass within just 60ft of his house.     

Mr Justice Holgate said he had considered whether ministers were obliged to take the ‘cumulative impacts at Necton into account’ when determining the Vanguard application and whether reasons given for not taking those cumulative impacts into account were ‘legally inadequate’.

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