The High Court has overturned a decision by communities secretary Eric Pickles to block a planned solar farm at a disused airfield in Suffolk proposed by Lark Energy. DLA Piper acted on behalf of Lark Energy on what is expected to be a test case for the renewable energy sector.
The case originally saw Lark Energy submit plans for a 100,000-panel solar farm in Ellough, Suffolk, in February 2013. Waveney council rejected the proposal, instead granting permission for a 60,000-panel development.
Lark Energy appealed and following a public inquiry a planning inspector recommended overturning this decision, supporting the plans for the original, larger farm on the basis that its benefits would outweigh the ‘limited harm’ it would cause to the landscape.
The communities secretary consequently reviewed and blocked the planning application — a decision that was overturned by Justice Lindblom in the High Court. The ruling found that Eric Pickles’ decision showed ‘substantial prejudice’ to Lark Energy, and refused the secretary of state leave to appeal.
Jim McAvan and Glenn Sharpe of DLA Piper represented Lark Energy on the matter.