Standard conditions for wind turbines

It can sometimes be difficult for the non-techie amongst us to draft or suggest conditions suitable for dealing with techie matters.

In (DCS Number 400-010-475) it was the potential impact of a wind turbine on broadband reception that was at issue. The proposal concerned a farm turbine in Carmarthenshire. Grants had been provided by the Welsh Government and the council to support the take-up of a broadband service provided by a private company.  The company raised concerns that the proposal would impact on their ability to deliver the service and could impact on communications links that provide a community Wi-Fi service in the area. In the absence of conclusive evidence on the matter the inspector decided that the best answer would be to attach a condition to the permission, reasoning that broadband speed tests are widely available and concerned individual customers should be able to demonstrate that problems had arisen as a result of the construction of the turbine. Accordingly, the following condition was imposed, modelled on a condition used in Norfolk.

“No turbine shall be erected until a written scheme to secure the investigation and alleviation of any electro-magnetic interference to broadband reception caused by the operation of the turbine has been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The scheme shall provide for the investigation by a qualified person acceptable to the Local Planning Authority of any complaint of interference with the existing broadband signal or any loss of broadband signal at a building which lawfully exists or had planning permission at the date of this permission where such a complaint is notified to the developer by the Local Planning Authority within 12 months of the First Export Date. Where any impairment is determined by the qualified person to be attributable to the wind turbine, then details of mitigation works shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority and shall be implemented in accordance with the approved scheme within 60 days of the notification of the complaint to the developer.”

The inspector modified the condition used in the Norfolk decision (DCS Number 200-000-238) as it contains a clause (see below) specifying that the impairment to broadband must be of a degree that makes the current broadband service inoperative and that a comparable, alternative broadband service is not available.

“No turbine shall be erected until a written scheme to secure the investigation and alleviation of any electro-magnetic interference to broadband reception caused by the operation of the turbine has been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The scheme shall provide for the investigation by a qualified person acceptable to the Local Planning Authority of any complaint of broadband loss at a building which lawfully exists or had planning permission at the date of this permission where such a complaint is notified to the developer by the Local Planning Authority within 12 months of the First Export Date.  Where any impairment is determined by the qualified person to be attributable to the wind turbine, and that such impairment is of a degree that makes the current broadband service inoperative and that a comparable, alternative broadband service is not available, then details of mitigation works shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority and shall be implemented in accordance with the approved scheme within 60 days of the notification of the complaint to the developer.”

In the Carmarthenshire case there didn’t appear to be any alternative broadband service. The inspector therefore did not agree that the impairment needed to be so severe as to render the current broadband service inoperative because the quality of broadband was a critical issue for businesses in the area.  He therefore deleted this clause from the condition.

Local authorities might find it useful to pin these conditions to the end of their lists of standard conditions.

The following DCP chapter is relevant: 26.5327

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