A recent Planning decision allowing a wind farm at the Naseby battlefield has dented hopes that English Heritage’s recently published guidelines would ensure the “setting” of monuments was going to get a logical, if not sympathetic hearing. The Inspector did have regard to the guidelines, and he agreed with English Heritage that the proposed wind farm would damage the setting of the battlefield ….. but he considered the damage the project would cause is outweighed by the need to meet renewable energy targets. EH could be forgiven for wondering whether their guidelines are applicable to windfarms at all if achieving renewable energy targets is to be the dominant consideration in planning decisions.
It’s worth considering though whether one thing the Inspector said that he got slated for maybe had a germ of good sense in it. He said it was relevant that the wind farm would be a temporary intrusion and would perhaps last only 25 years. Of course, taken to extremes that view makes no sense for in the words of Frank Baldwin of the Battlefields Trust “By the same logic, there is nothing to stop you building an entire array of wind farms around Stonehenge.” But isn’t there a strong case for saying permanent damage is more serious than temporary damage and making permission for it commensurately harder to obtain? After all, in 25 years Naseby will no longer be damaged, whereas in 500 years the Thornborough complex still will be.