Eric Pickles decided on 9th April 2014 to extend the “temporary” change to the appeals recovery criteria for renewable energy development for a further 12 months: click here
The Secretary of State announced on 10 October 2013 that:
“I want to give particular scrutiny to planning appeals involving renewable energy developments so that I can consider the extent to which the new practice guidance is meeting the Government’s intentions. To this end, I am hereby revising the appeals recovery criteria and will consider for recovery appeals for renewable energy developments. This new criterion is added to the recovery policy issued on 30 June 2008 and will be applied for a period of six months from today after which it will be reviewed.
For the avoidance of doubt, this does not mean that all renewable energy appeals will be recovered, but that Planning Ministers are likely to recover a number of appeals in order to assess the application of the planning practice guidance at national level.” (Click here)
On 9 April 2014, Mr Pickles said in a written statement to Parliament that:
“I am pleased to confirm that the guidance is helping ensure decisions do reflect the environmental balance set out in the Framework. I note, for example, that prior to the guidance, more appeals were approved than dismissed for more significant wind turbines. Since the guidance, more appeals have been dismissed than approved for more significant turbines. Every case should, of course, be considered on its individual merits in light of local circumstances and the material planning considerations.
I am encouraged by the impact the guidance is having but do appreciate the continuing concerns in communities. I also recognise that the guidance is still relatively new and some development proposals may not yet have fully taken on board its clear intent. Therefore after careful consideration I have decided to extend the temporary change to the appeals recovery criteria and continue to consider for recovery appeals for renewable energy developments for a further 12 months. This criterion is added to the recovery policy issued on 30 June 2008.”
One inevitable effect of the extension of the “temporary” change will be further delay to the determination of appeals for renewable energy schemes. Taking the example of wind turbine development, over 30 appeals have been recovered by DCLG under the amended criteria. Thus far, under 10 decisions have been released and most of those have resulted in the refusal of planning permission. In some cases, over a year has passed since the appeal was originally heard by a Planning Inspector. In several instances, DCLG’s target dates for determining the appeals have been pushed later into 2014.