Council to challenge 'irrational' solar farm decision in High Court
Telford & Wrekin Council will challenge the government’s decision to allow New Works Lane solar farm to go ahead in the High Court.
The council’s planning committee refused planning permission for the 99-acre solar farm between Arleston and Lawley and the government’s local planning inspector agreed with that view, but a minister at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities overruled this in March, giving the solar farm the green light.
The council believes there are arguable legal grounds to challenge the government’s decision because local planning policy had not been fully understood or lawfully applied.
Leader of the Council, Shaun Davies (Labour) said: “Telford & Wrekin Council is the local planning authority for the area earmarked for New Works solar farm and will mount a legal challenge on the government’s decision to grant planning permission for it.
“The complete disregard for local planning policy – which is a legal framework - and how it works to protect the landscape has led our legal advisers to conclude that the government’s decision making has been ‘irrational’ at best.
“The decision goes against the views of our communities, our planning officers, the planning committee and even the government's own planning inspector, who held a public inquiry into the development last summer.
“As a council, we know the vital importance of renewable energy. We are one of only a few councils to have our own solar farm and we have granted a range of others throughout the borough, but these developments must be made in the right places.
“We urge the government, even at this late stage, to willingly reverse its decision and avoid the need for further legal action”.
The council has now lodged an application at the High Court to seek a statutory review of the minister’s decision and a court order to reverse it.