In taking the very unusual step of granting a protective costs order to a concerned resident who is challenging the grant of planning permission for a wind farm, the High Court has acknowledged that such developments are ‘very much a hot potato’ in planning terms.
Despite local objections, Cornwall Council granted permission for five 100-metre-tall wind turbines on farmland at St Mawgan, near Newquay, in April 2012. William Corbett, a member of St Mawgan Parish Council, was granted permission to mount a judicial review challenge to the council’s decision after the court declared that his case had a real prospect of success.
The court went on to grant Mr Corbett a protective costs order, placing a £35,000 limit on his potential liability to pay the council’s legal costs should he lose the case in due course. Judge Nicholas Padfield QC said: "I do think that it would be fair and just to make such an order on the basis that, particularly in a planning case such as this where wind turbines are very much a hot potato in terms of an issue, it is in the public interest for concerns to be properly ventilated."