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United Kingdom

United Kingdom

High Court upholds government rejection of planned Kielder 80 MW

The UK High Court has upheld the rejection by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) of a permit application for an 80 MW wind farm in northern England, ending a saga which has lasted nearly a decade. The developer of the Kielder Forest project in Northumberland, Ecogen, had appealed to the court to quash the DTI's decision. But in a full judicial review of the decision in May, the High Court turned down Ecogen's application. Ecogen had argued that it had not been given any opportunity by the DTI to put its case for holding a public inquiry into its application. After eight years in planning, Ecogen's application for a wind farm deep inside Northumberland's vast Kielder Forest was originally turned down by the then trade and industry secretary, Stephen Byers, in March 2001, because of an objection by the Ministry of Defence that the turbines would interfere with radar and low level flying. In December 2001, Ecogen was given leave to contest the DTI's decision-making process at a full judicial review. Ecogen claims the High Court's ruling in effect absolves the DTI of any need to be fair or follow the usual consultation procedures. Nonetheless, the company intends to fight on saying it will take its case to the Court of Appeal.

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