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UK high court backs councils over minimum distance rules

UK: A UK high court judge has ruled that a growing trend for local councils to introduce minimum separation distances between wind turbines and houses is lawful.

The High Court of England and Wales... councils can set minimum distances
The High Court of England and Wales... councils can set minimum distances

The judge said that such policies are not in breach of national renewable energy policy. But he quashed a proposal for such a policy from Milton Keynes Council, as it already had another plan that enforced a separation distance of 350 metres. The judge said the proposed policy was contradictory.

The judgement came in response to developer RWE Npower Renewables taking Milton Keynes Council to court over a policy laying down a minimum distance of 1,217 metres between a 125-metre-high wind turbine and the nearest home.

If the council's policy was implemented, it would have automatically ruled out RWE's proposed 24MW Nunwood and 15MW Orchard Way wind farms. RWE argued that this was against national renewable energy policy.

The case was being closely watched by the English onshore wind industry. At least eight other local councils in England have, or are proposing, similar separation distance policies.

The councils in question are controlled by the Conservative party.

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