Welsh council wins solar farm legal battle

Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council has been awarded £5,500 in costs by the High Court over a decision to approve planning permission for a solar farm.

The local authority originally gave planning permission for a 14MW solar park at Hafod y Dafal Farm in November 2014.

But a separate company, KCS Asset Management, which had a minerals interest in land next door to the site challenged the decision and brought a judicial review on four grounds.

In court, the company claimed the planning permission was unclear because a condition was imposed excluding a proposed cabling route from the permission and there was a failure to consider ecological issues in relation to the proposed cabling routes.

But Mrs justice Patterson ruled there was nothing unlawful about the approach of the local authority in granting planning permission.

The claimant was also ordered to pay the costs of the Council, which were limited to £5,500.

 In a statement, the Council said it was “pleased that the High Court agrees with its decision to grant planning permission for the solar park”. 

“The recent hearing confirms that the Council met its legal obligations in respect of the application and has done nothing unlawful in granting planning permission taking into account the interests of all parties and the ecological reports presented.”

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, specializing in local government, transport and energy issues