London Green Belt Council

Green Belt appeal decisions

Power stations, pumping stations and similar

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Updated 11 May 2007, this page includes various recent decisions on appeals against refusal of planning consent. Summarises of appeal decisions arising from refusal of planning consent are available at www.Planning Reource.co,uk/dcs, with a copy of the decision letter also available for a fee.

 'SoS' = Secretary of State. 'DETR' is now ‘DCLG’ = Dept for Communities and Local Government.


Merseyside GB methane-powered generator approved.  Mounds would screen the group of buildings for this electricity generator using methane gas from coal mines.  Although inappropriate in the green belt, the 2003 energy white paper gave strong support for this type of unit, reducing green house gas emissions.  It was only temporary and was screened.  The considerable environment al benefits were very special circumstances.  DCS 100038656.  8.7.05

23m electricity pylon approved in Lancs GB.  The pylon and a dozen 8m telegraph poles would be used for training purposes and involve overhead cabling at a water treatment works.  The impact on the openness would be limited and, being located at a previously developed site operated by a statutory undertaker, would cause no significant harm in the green belt.  The pylon would not be viewed against any skyline and the poles would not be noticeable from a distance. The benefits of the facility outweighed the harm to the green belt.  DCS 100037781.  22.7.05

Clean electricity station approved - In the GB near Wakefield, permission was granted in 1996 for a small hydro electric power station at Kirkthorpe Weir on the river Calder. Consent has now been given for a 400KW station as a very special circumstance being the generation of clean energy. The majority will be below ground and the renewable energy source made a very special circumstance outweighing the inappropriateness in the GB. However the access roads were substandard and unfit for the large vehciles needed in construction. In the absence of a Section 106 obligation to control tyraffic approval was refused on highway safety grounds. DCS 43829225 April 2003

Pilot wells refused in Staffs GB - The applicant wished to drill 4 pilot wells to explore the commercial possiblity of coalbed methane gas for which exploration licences had been granted. If successful ther would be a long-term production facility. The Inspector decided it was acceptable in the GB and any health risks would be covered by the Health & Safety Executive. However it would harm the visual amenity of the GB and landscape. No strong need had been demonstrated whereby national interest would outweigh environmental harm. the DPM agreed. Staffs CC 19 Nov 2002. DCS 42745879

S Tyneside pumping station approved for conversion into 5 dwellings - The Grade 11 listed buildings were redundant and the conversion required only a limited extension to one of them. It was therefore an appropriate reuse of existing buildings in the GB, and free-standing garages were better than extensions which would spoil the character and historical importance of the pumping stations. S Tyneside MBC 5 Sept 2002. DCS 32731890

Methane plant OK in Lancs GB - Approval was given to an energy-generating plant using methane gas trapped in old colliery workings in the GB near Haydock, Lancs. The Inspector said there would be limited visual harm because the electricity produced would feed into the Grid via an underground cable. It was sustainable, and avoid any future hazard from gas leakage. This explotation of the gas source was a very special circumstance. St Helens MBC 3 july 2002. DCS 34042104

Water pump refused due to possible alternatives - Severn Trent Water wanted to build a water pumping station in the Derby GB in order to solve a problem with an existing pipeline located nearby. The building would be about 12m by 9m and a 5.3m ridge height. The strong need would constitute a very special circumstance normally but the Inspector decided that alternative sites had not been approached with sufficient vigour and openness to prove that no other site was suitable outside the GB. Alternative sites were less sustainable, requiring pumping over greater distances, but were outbalanced by the need to preserve the openness of the countryside. The SoS DLTR agreed. NE Derbyshire DC 18 April 2002. DCS 37864817

Temp gas exploration rig allowed - The Doncaster site is a GB field in a very special landscape area, and close to a grade 1 listed church in a relatively flat landscape. Despite the harm to all of these features, it was temporary and the gas reserves in the area needed to be assessed. Flooding of the coal seams below the site would created trapped pockets of gas, pressuring them, and creating a possible danger to property. The inspector agreed with this argument and the 3-week limitation on drilling, although testing would take longer. Doncaster MBC 4 Jan 2002. DCS 48066113

Gas production wells and pipelines rejected in GB - A company wanted to drill wells and extract natural gas for 13+ years from a reservoir below upland farms in Staffordshire, and transport gas via a 5-km pipeline to an existing generating facility. The main issue was whether it was appropriate in the GB and also its visual impact. The inspector thought the well-head would harm the landscape because of screening mounds, a 330m access track and a 35m rig. It would fail to maintain the openness of the area and would not achieve high environmental standards. Information on the pipeline was insufficient to assess its impact. However the harm arising from the scheme outweighed any national need for the extraction of natural gas and that very special circumstances had not been demonstrated. Date 20 Sept 2000. Ref APP/D3450/00/1038013;INQUIRY


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