Courts refuse to hear Steeraway Solar Farm appeal

The High Court has refused to hear an appeal against Steeraway Solar Farm after it was granted planning permission by a government planning inspector earlier this year.

Courts refuse to hear Steeraway Solar Farm appeal

Telford & Wrekin Council mounted a legal challenge against the farm and neighbouring New Works Solar Farm, which together, would cover 230 acres and blight the landscape surrounding the Wrekin for generations to come.

The council’s planning committee refused planning permission for the 99-acre New Works 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.

In May 2023, another appointed planning inspector then approved the Steeraway Solar Farm development.  In making the decision the inspector considered the Secretary of State’s decision at New Works and relied on this heavily to justify the decision to approve the second development. 

Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Housing, Transport and Enforcement , Councillor Richard Overton said: “I am bitterly disappointed that the courts will not hear our case against Steeraway.  

“The decisions to allow these farms to go ahead are against the view of our communities, our planning officers and the planning committee. Even the government’s own planning inspector refused the application for New Works Farm, only for this to be overturned by a government minister.

“Anyone who lives in the area can see that the farms will destroy a much-loved beauty spot, and from a planning perspective, some of our most valued strategic landscape. I suppose that if you’re in a Whitehall office, this doesn’t matter.

“I completely acknowledge the arguments in support of green energy production – but this shouldn’t be at the expense of our most important green space. Solar farms like this need to be built in the right places. The foot of the Wrekin is not the right place.”

The council are yet to hear whether the case against New Works Solar Farm will be heard in court. A decision is expected in the Autumn.