I am delighted for all local residents who were affected by Broadview Energy's appeal to the High Court! The High Court has dismissed Broadview's attempt to overturn the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government's decision to refuse planning permission for the Spring Farm Ridge wind farm. I would like to take this opportunity again to commend residents on the resolute determination that they have shown in their efforts to protect their community from this unwelcome development.
Broadview Energy have been seeking planning for this five turbine development in the vicinity of Greatworth, Sulgrave and Helmdon for five years now against the clearly stated wishes of the local community. They argued in the High Court that I had influenced the Secretary of State's decision by writing to him on numerous occasions on behalf of those residents who contacted me, and as the result of a number of public meetings I held in the affected villages. They suggested that it was wrong of me to seek opportunities to raise the issue with him and his Ministers in the House of Commons.
I am delighted that the Judge, Lord Justice Cranston, concluded that I was, in fact, just doing my job..... He wrote, 'As elected representatives of individual constituencies, one of the functions of the modern MP is to take up constituency issues. These may be issues facing one constituent, a group of constituents or the constituency as a whole.'
He went on to say, 'This lobbying of Ministers by MPs is part and parcel of the representative role of a constituency MP. It would be quite wrong for a court to conclude that there was anything improper with it as a matter of law.'
He concluded, 'Andrea Leadsom MP was acting perfectly properly, as a diligent constituency MP, although in this case it just so happened that her political judgment aligned with her constituents' interests.'
I would love to be able to say that this is finally the end of this long drawn out situation, but in a sadly rather bitter statement posted on their website, Broadview have indicated that they will consider whether to seek leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal.
Constituents can rest assured that I will always continue to fight for the best interests of South Northamptonshire residents. The Government is ensuring local communities have the final say in wind farm applications and announced the Government subsidy for onshore wind would end a year early.
The full verdict from Lord Justice Cranston can be read here. You might be specifically interested in the 'analysis' and 'conclusion' which begin at paragraph 33 on page 12.