NT Launch Campaign Against Brandy Island Marina


We are leading a campaign to oppose the development of a marina at Brandy Island, on one of the most unspoilt stretches of the River Thames. 

Brandy Island adjoins the beautiful village of Buscot in Oxfordshire, which we have looked after since 1956 to protect its special character. The island is a rich wildlife habitat and its setting has attracted walkers, artists and all who love the riverside for centuries.

Now the peace and tranquillity of the area is threatened by an application for a commercial development on Brandy Island which has been submitted to the Vale of White Horse District Council.

We are strongly opposed to the development and are urging local people and organisations to object to the scheme.

Local people and organisations have until 8 June to lodge their objections to The Vale of the White Horse Planning Authority.

Our reasons for opposing the scheme:

We are a charity that exists to look after special places for people to enjoy. We support new development where it’s appropriate for the local area. In this case we are strongly opposing the scheme for the following reasons:

Land use

This development would have an impact of the character of the local area, which is recognised by the Local Authority as ‘an area of high landscape value’. It would also detract from the unspoilt beauty of Buscot Old Parsonage which is a Grade II* listed historic building.

Nature conservation

The site has notable nature conservation interest and could be even more important as a wildlife habitat. Kingfishers and otters already inhabit the Buscot Lock site and we believe the habitat should be enhanced by returning the whole site to a conservation area.


Traffic will rise to an unacceptable level for local residents. The access roads are very narrow and have no passing places. Buscot Lock attracts visitors throughout the year. It’s a popular picnic spot in the summer as it is a safe and unspoilt place for people to enjoy. The increased traffic will have adverse effect on the safety of the public and their quiet enjoyment of the site.

The increased traffic will add to the existing pressure on the road through the village and increase parking problems. The T junction with the main A417 is already considered dangerous and more traffic in the village will only increase the risks.


The impact to residents both in the village and immediately adjacent to the site cannot be underestimated. Local residents will be immediately affected by the noise of boat owners with power tools, radios and machinery, as will all those who currently enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the area.

The local campaign group is here

What a waste of £17 million for community planning orders

What a waste of money that could pay for over 100 additional neighbourhood plans.

Community planning orders fill a niche need in only a limited number of LPAs, where a community wnats housing in a village say and the LPA unreasonably does not.

They wont apply in neighbourhood plan areas as their Neighbourhood Development Orders apply.

If the case is that by cutting red tape it will save money why subsidise it.

You will still need architects drawings, and a planning statement to justify it to the examiner, so these costs are the same whether or not you go down the planning application route or the Cpo route.  So £17 million to subsidise the legal profession in drawing up Cpos, what a joke.  If an LPA says, this scheme is ok submit a planning application, will they have to pay the money back?  Will an expensive and unnecessary referendum then be forced?  Not a moments thought seems to have been given to this policy.  Why subsidising making planning applications – everyone would want some.  Another example I think of DCLG civil servants shrugging their shoulders and giving ministers enough rope to hang themselves until the inevitable ominshambles occurs.

Would that money be much better spent on funding to Portas Pilots and Neighbourhood Plans?

It seems like the government and Grant Shapps in particular trying through very illiberal state intervention make it look like a flopped policy has succeeded.

Bank Lending is Profit Constrained not Equity (Capital) Constrained – A Small but Important MMT Error

MMT is almost but not quite correct.  Their sectoral balance view of the economy is correct but one area they continually stumble over is the treatment of time.

One such area where a mistake is made is over the ability of banks to lend.  Lets take a much repeated quote from the more vulgar end of MMT (Billy Mitchell et. al.) rather than the theoretically pioneering end (Wray, Fullweiller etc.)

So lets repeat: bank lending is capital constrained not reserve constrained. Fundamental point that comes out of an understanding of how the monetary system works.

Nearly but not quite true.  The fundamentally true point is that under modern monetary conditions bank reserves do not act as quantity constraint on credit growth, the reserve constraint view is simply the old ‘loanable funds’ view of credit capacity in new clothes.  It has endlessly been debunked by modern monetary thinkers of all persuasions and if their is a canonical statement  of the modern view it is this from Scott Fullweiller, which arose from the recent Keen/Krugman debate on endogenous money.  If then we have debunked the view that the constraint on bank lending is a not a quantity constraint but depends of future profits – a price constraint not a quantity constraint, then why do we again say that the constraint is a quantity constraint – but a different one equity not reserves?

At the root of this is a number of theoretical confusions:

1) That Schumpter’s rhetorical statement that bank credit is ‘created out of thin air’ means it can be created without limit, no it cannot it is constrained.

2) That because banks can create credit with zero reserves reserves play no part at all in the ability of banks to lend – they do though it is an indirect secondary effect

3) That it makes no difference if one bank creates money endogenously or if all banks do so at the same time – it does though the neoclassical view of this is flawed.

4) A confusion of stocks and flows in terms of anticipated bank revenue from loans.

5) A confusion in causation between profits and bank equity prices.

Ill set out the issues under 3) more fully on some future occasion as it depends on a treatment of the full monetary circuit and the relationship between horizontal and vertical money which is beyond the scope of this article.  Here I want to stick to one simple point – Q why do banks lend money A Because they find it profitable.  Q so then if banks find it more profitable to lend they will lend more A correct, and if they find it less profitable to lend they will lend less A correct.  Q So the anticipated changes in bank profitability from loans affects the changes in net bank credit creation A QED.

Dealing first with the much misused ‘out of thin air’ point.  I shall take as my witness here banker turned Journalist John Carney

The idea that banks are not constrained by reserve levels—because they can always borrow required reserves should they fall short—shouldn’t leave anyone with the impression that banks do not face serious constraints on their lending.

The biggest constraint on lending is the basic business model of banking.

When I was a banking lawyer, we usually referred to this as “cost plus lending.” The idea was that the bank’s source of profit was charging more for loans than it cost the bank to make the loan.

This sounds pretty simple until you start thinking about the source of the costs to make a loan. The first cost, of course, is what’s known as “the cost of funding”—the amount the bank must pay to borrow the reserves required to make loans.

But there are a host of non-funding costs as well. The bank must also somehow acquire the regulatory capital to back the loan, and capital can be expensive. The bank faces administrative costs in making the loan. Bankers must be paid. There may also be various taxes and government fees that apply.

Banks also face interest rate risk that they attempt to hedge by either borrowing funds at durations that match the term of the loan they are making—which raises the bank’s cost of funding—or making floating rate loans. But with very large loans, banks will often require floating rate borrowers to hedge against interest rate risk themselves—since you don’t want your borrower defaulting just because rates have increased. The price of interest rate hedging also has to be figured into the borrowers ability to pay the loan.

These aren’t trivial costs. The best estimate is that these add up to almost 300 basis points—the spread between the Fed Funds rate and the Prime Rate.

This means that even if banks can make loans out of thin air, there are plenty of loans that a bank cannot make. Or, to put it differently, if a bank makes too many of these loans it will lose money and eventually fail. A person or business whose free cash flow is too light to support the costs of the loan, for example, is not credit worthy—that is, not eligible to receive a loan under most circumstances.

This is one way that monetary policy works to encourage more lending. When monetary policy brings down the price of banks borrowing reserves—that is, reduces the Feds Funds rate—it brings down the cost of making loans. This means some borrowers will be credit worthy at lower rates that wouldn’t make the cut at higher rates.

The flip side of this is that potential borrowers must also see opportunities to put bank loans to work. If they view potential for future profit as weak, the demand for new loans shrinks. Of course, monetary policy plays a role here too. Low rates can make otherwise uneconomic projects work and, as the Austrians put it, may send a signal that there is more saving in the economy available for future spending….

Banks also must price in the “credit risk” of making a loan—the risk that the borrowers may default, either because the collateral for the loan becomes so undervalued that the borrower “walks away” or because cash flow fall short of what is needed to make the loan.

Credit risk depends both on the individual character of each borrower and the general economic prospects. Rising unemployment, fall in consumer demand, the plausibility of management’s business plans all feed into credit risk.

Evidence indicates that credit risk, interest rate risk and other costs of lending exercise very strong influences over lending. The stuff the Fed tends to influence most directly—the cost of funding—can be overwhelmed by the credit risk and cost of capital….

To put it differently, banks are not free to create money willy-nilly. They are subject to restraints imposed by both the markets and regulators. But under current procedures, these restraints do not arise from a hard limit on the amount of reserves in the system. They arise from the costs of lending, which is conditioned by (a) the interest rate targeted by the Fed, (b) regulatory and market capital requirements and the market price for bank capital, (c) by back-office administrative and hedging costs of lending, and (d) the credit-worthiness and credit-hungriness of borrowers.

Or put simply the discounted to present risk adjusted cash flow from the asset created by the loan must exceed the costs in creating the liability of increased reserves.  That is a profitable loan.  And each bank must compete in a market for loans and equity for this funding against other banks.  These profits create a cash flow and it is this cash flow, and the anticipated cash flow which create the power for banks to create loans either from cash on hand or from the financial markets.

Neil Wilson has modelled in T-Accounts, commenting on Steve Keen’s models, the ‘potential loans’ from a bank – what a ‘credit licence’ the power to create loans to a certain value.

But what benefit does carrying the amount of ‘potential loans’ give us in the model? Well it helps to show how ‘hungry’ a bank is to lend. A bank with a high valuation on its credit licence has a lot of capacity to make loans, whereas one with a low valuation hasn’t. It is very likely that the first is going to be selling loans as hard as its can whereas the second is more likely to be putting its efforts into lobbying regulators to relax the cap on its lending capacity.

Steve Keen has adopted this accounting approach and it now appears in his models including his recent INET paper.

However this model shows how past profitability allows for creation of loans at any particular instant it does not show how an individual loan decision is made in terms of anticipation of future interest rates, debtor creditworthiness or bank creditworthiness, as well as how a bank might extend its ‘lending power’  in terms of its decisions to sell assets, rebalance its portfolio, extent its creditworthiness, acquire collateral etc. We require matching modifications to finance theory as well as macroeconomics.

My witness on the Second point is Scott Fullweiller; in his aforementioned piece

the business model of banking—..is to earn more on assets than is paid on liabilities, and to hold as little capital (equity) as possible (since that’s generally more expensive than assets). The most profitable way to do this is to make loans (that are paid back, obviously, so credit analysis is an important part of this) that are offset by deposits, since deposits are the cheapest liability; borrowings in money markets would be more expensive, generally. So, Bank A, if it is not able to acquire deposits is not operationally constrained in making the loan, but it will find that this loan is less profitable than if it could acquire deposits to replace the borrowings…. banks create loans without regard to the quantity of reserve balances they are holding; they obtain any reserve balances needed at the federal funds rate or roughly equal to it. Their ability to replace withdrawals with other deposits merely affects the profitability of lending, not the ability to do so…. the loanable funds model is wrong. Banks are not constrained by deposits whatsoever, but the quantity of deposits they can raise after making a loan to replace a withdrawal will affect the profitability of the loan. Again, the constraint is a price constraint, not a quantity constraint.

The third point serves a longer treatment but if every bank extends credit at once then between t0 and t1 extra currency will have needed to enter the monetary circuit because in the M-C-M’ accumulation an extra quantum of money is needed to pay for the interest/bank profit on the loan  If it isn’t created then both growth and credit creation will be price deflationary and will be hindered.  This is quite an old point raised by German Monetary thinkers like Schact before the war and in a different form by Hawtry.  Given in modern monetary conditions central banks have to be accommodative to monetary demands so it does not undermine the central thrust of the endogenous (credit) theory of money but it is an important plank of why certain narrow ‘chartelist’ views of MMT are flawed – an issue for another day.

On the fourth and fifth points the view seems to be expressed that the constraint is a quantity one the equity stock at any time.  Though capital will effect the ability of a bank to lend at start up it failed to explain why banks have sought to minimise their capital once they have a viable profits stream.  I hope I have demonstrated that the lending power of a bank is not simply the function of working capital – but at any point in continuous time is topped up by the flows of (income from loans minus flows from liabilities) : the net cash flow to the bank at that point in time.  This affects the short term constraint on lending through requiring overnight lending from banks and the cost of such lending.  Of course liabilities and income flows from principle + interest occur at different points in time so seen from the perspective of the loan the constraint is caused, over the period of the loan and risk adjusted – in terms of the profitability of the loan.  So we might say that banks are short run cash flow constrained and long run profit constrained.  Short run cash flows though will rise and fall if the decisions made in the past on loans about current conditions have lead to a greater or lesser achieved profit than was anticipated on the loan in question.

I think this approach has a number of advantages, in particular in helping understanding how banks have manipulated their appearance of credit worthiness in order to expand their lending power through the financialisation of risks on assets, something difficult to explain in a pure equity model of banks ability to extend credit.  It also helps understand some of the causal factors behind the credit accelerator/impulse. It also helps explain why banks that are profitable might not extend credit if the wider economy depresses future loan profitability and why unprofitable banks are forced to furiously de-lever.  Finally it helps explain the Minksy Ponzi type loans where short term income from loans is high even though long term profitability from the loan might be negative.

The final point is on causation, a simple one, equity prices don’t determine themselves, they are determined by the markets assessment of current and future profits and losses.

3 Million Young Adults Living With Parents – and how to Missapply that in Housing Forecasts #NPPF

Today the ONS released a report on the growth in young adults (20-34) living with their parents since 1991.  There has been a 20% increase.

it is noteworthy that the increase over the past decade coincides with an increase in the average price paid by first-time homebuyers of 40% between 2002 and 2011

A combination of house prices and falling incomes in the recession are forcing more and more younger people to still live with their parents or otherwise share.  Concealed households.  Hence household formation is lessened as is migration to form a household.  Some local planning authorities are interpreting this as a fall in the demand for housing, no it is a symptom of the shortage of housing.  So we have the rather amateurish results like we find in Teignbridge of Cllrs confusing a lack of mortgage finance due to the recession with a lack of demand for housing or a decrease in the number of households who would form households if their were houses with affordable mortgages available.   So reducing housing targets for purely local political reasons in this circumstances, basing data purely on national household formation and migration data without also examining local household surveys (across a housing market are) on concealed households is sure to give a biased, partial and wholly misleading result,

CIL and #NPPF could hamper new Housing – Knight Frank


The Community Infrastructure Levy is causing “disquiet” amongst housebuilders, who fear that the levy could lead to a decline in the supply of residential development land across the UK, according to estate agency Knight Frank.

The levy on new development is already “squeezing margins” and, teamed with other policy developments such as the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), could hamper the delivery of new housing, said the company.

‘Housingbuilding 2012’ is a report produced by Knight Frank’s residential research team, which undertook a survey of more than 100 builders to assess the opportunities and challenges facing the UK housebuilding industry.

The content of the NPPF has been largely welcomed across the industry, the report said, but it is not expected to have any positive impact on housebuilding in the near future due to the confusion and delays that could result from the “bedding down” of the policy over the next year.

Nearly half of the respondents to the survey said that they thought the Government’s move towards ‘localism’ would slow down the process of securing planning permission and 54% of respondents said that the plan could result in a fall in development volumes from where they would otherwise have been.

“The NPPF is a step forward. However there is a lot of room for interpretation and as such I believe it will take a couple of years, and significant use of the appeals process before it settles down,” said Steve Morgan, chairman of property developer Redrow, in the report.

The Government’s New Homes Bonus is not supported by housebuilders either, according to the report, which said that in the second year of the bonus allocation there has been a notable rise in the number of respondents who think that the scheme will have no impact at all on development volumes. Some 80% of those surveyed said that the bonus would have little effect.

The New Homes Bonus was introduced last year to encourage local councils to approve plans for new homes. In return they receive a payment matching council tax income for each home built or brought back into use, with an additional bonus for affordable housing.

Housebuilders were generally in support of the Government’s NewBuy scheme, which aims to boost the availability of mortgages by housebuilders and the Government providing a ‘guarantee’ for the mortgage.  Two-thirds of respondents to the survey said thought the scheme would result in a slight rise in development volumes, and 70% said that it should result in a modest rise in sales.

Some housebuilders expressed “dismay” at the high interest rates on such mortgage loans, said Knight Frank. “Our survey shows that lack of mortgage finance remains the biggest risk to the performance of the housebuilding sector over the next 12 months.”

East Herts Cllr ‘Government’s Planning Policy is a shambles’ #NPPF

Hertfordshire Mercury

GOVERNMENT planning policy is a shambles and has delayed the development vision for East Herts by four months, a senior councillor has said.

Much Hadham Tory Cllr Mike Carver, East Herts Council’s executive member for strategic planning and transport, launched his outburst at the annual meeting of the authority.

He blamed the Government for introducing the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) without removing the old regional plans from the statute books for the main cause of delay.

Replying to Cllr Jim Ranger’s question asking why the plan had been delayed, Cllr Carver said: “The council had hoped to get the plan out for public consultation for 12 weeks from the beginning of September with the preferred strategic option.

“This is now not going to happen but, to make matters even more complex, the coalition Government has still not formally removed the regional plans from the statute books.

“Therefore, they remain the primary basis for planning policy in development and would be used by many developers and others in evidence and examination in public as a challenge to the soundness of the plan.”

Cllr Carver continued: “The Government from the outset stressed the importance of simplifying and speeding up the planning process and yet here we are with delay upon delay being added to the process by ill-thought-through central Government legislation processes.

“We are not alone in this frustration.”

The District Plan’s preferred options will now go before full council in December with a 12-week public consultation starting in January.

Judge Windfarm Decision – Renewable Targets do not Automatically Negate Landscape Issues #NPPF


Sea Land and Power Ltd argued that the wind farm near Gt Yarmouth would help to meet [national renewable energy] targets.

In a judgment handed down at the Administrative Court [Judge Laing] backed both the local councils and conservation groups in rejecting the plans.

Both Great Yarmouth Borough Council and a Government Planning Inspector kicked rejected the wind farm, finding that further turbines in the area would threaten its character and natural beauty.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) expressed concerns about the potential impact of the wind turbines on important local populations of pink footed geese and marsh harriers, although the charity later withdrew its objections.

Despite recognising the benefits of wind generated power, she said the inspector was entitled to her view that they were, in this case, outweighed by the “material harm” the development would cause to the “character and appearance” of a sensitive area.

“This is simply a case of policies pulling in different directions: harm to landscape and the benefits of renewable energy. The inspector was required to have regard to both sets of policies and to undertake a balancing exercise”

A spokesman for the Campaign to Protect Rural England said t…

“It is important we meet our climate change targets and wind is part of that but there are two environmental goods here – there is cutting carbon and there is the beauty and tranquillity of our landscape. We think it is possible to meet our targets without wrecking the countryside.

The BBC report is here 

Sea & Land Power and Energy Ltd’s wanted to erect four 344ft (105m) turbines near Hemsby, Great Yarmouth.

The borough council refused the plan in 2009, over concerns about the adverse impact on the landscape.

Mrs Justice Lang upheld the decision and said the government’s encouragement of renewable energy did not outweigh local conservation policies.

She rejected Sea & Land’s arguments that the council planning inspector had ignored the government’s target that 17% of the region’s energy needs should be met from renewable sources by 2020.

She said it was a legitimate exercise of planning judgement.

And Daily Mail

Villagers scored a major victory over the wind farm and green lobby yesterday.

A High Court judge ruled their right to preserve their landscape was more important than the Government’s renewable energy targets.

The proposal from Sea & Land Power and Energy had already been rejected by both council and government inspectors.

In what will be seen as a landmark ruling, the judge agreed, saying lower carbon emissions did not take ‘primacy’ over the concerns of the people of Hemsby.

Maria Ellis, a landscape gardener who petitioned against the turbines, said: ‘This has been hanging over us for ages because the company kept proposing it over and over again which just smacked of arrogance.

‘Norfolk is renowned for its open skyline which has inspired stories and poetry and literature. The site is on a hill between two villages and we already have wind turbines to the north, west and east.

‘It is overdevelopment, you can’t cover the hills and dales in turbines.’

Tory MP Brandon Lewis, who lives in Hemsby, said: ‘This decision should really set a precedent for planning officers, inspectors and courts to give weight to the feelings of local people in protecting their environment. It really shows that local people who are organised and feel passionately can have an impact and make a difference.

‘In Great Yarmouth, we have several wind farms nearby, and renewable energy is a huge part of our economy. Wind energy is important but it has to be in the right place and should not have a negative impact on the community or the countryside we love.’

The proposed wind farm was fewer than 300 yards from the edge of the Broads national park and around 800 yards from homes in Hemsby.

Villagers said they feared over-development because there were already three wind farms within three miles.

Ministers have made onshore and offshore turbines a central plank of their plans to plug Britain’s looming energy gap. At least 340 farms are up and running with many more planned.

Suffolk-based Sea & Land had said their four turbines could supply 5,500 homes – or around 14 per cent of the energy needs of the Great Yarmouth borough council area.

But the local planning inspector kicked out the bid, saying: ‘The development would result in material harm to the character and appearance of the area because of its scale and location and the cumulative impacts of other similar developments.’

The inspector said the existing wind farms were ‘visually prominent in this simple, attractive, tranquil landscape with its scattered villages and farmsteads’.

Sea & Land took the case to the High Court in London, insisting that the East of England had failed to meet its energy targets for 2010 and was unlikely to meet the Whitehall target to generate 17 per cent of energy from low-carbon sources by 2020.

Yesterday Mrs Justice Lang backed the inspector, saying Sea & Land’s point about its 2009 proposal was ‘unarguable’.

‘I do not accept that the inspector ought to have disregarded the local landscape policies in the light of the national policies,’ she said.

‘As a matter of law it is not correct to assert that the national policy promoting the use of renewable resources … negates the local landscape policies or must be given primacy over them.

‘This is simply a case of policies pulling in different directions: harm to landscape and the benefits of renewable energy. The inspector was required to have regard to both sets of policies and to undertake a balancing exercise.’

Yesterday Roy Pinnock, an expert in planning law at the firm SNR Denton, said the case may bolster other villagers fighting wind farm projects.

‘It shows planning is all about balancing competing interests, and there will be a complex web of considerations in each case,’ he added.

‘There is a great emphasis on renewables, but this shows no one can claim that any particular outcome is preordained and it’s crucial that developers make an irresistible case for their development.’

Sea & Land can now take the case to the Court of Appeal.

Cally Smith, of the Broads Authority, said the turbines would have had a ‘significant and adverse impact on the protected landscape of the Broads’.

She added: ‘This is not acceptable. There are other places which are better suited to accommodate development such as this.’

But Robert Norris of Renewable UK, the trade body for the wind industry, said the judge was wrong to suggest the case would have a wider impact.

‘It is absolutely vital for any developer to look at the impact on the landscape and wildlife before they can even think about going ahead with a project, but planners also have to consider the need to keep the lights on by generating electricity from sources that are clean and meet our carbon targets.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2151874/Day-little-man-blew-wind-turbines-away-Landmark-victory-villagers-fight-threat-countryside.html#ixzz1wKvfuwhR

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2151874/Day-little-man-blew-wind-turbines-away-Landmark-victory-villagers-fight-threat-countryside.html#ixzz1wKvWc9jP

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2151874/Day-little-man-blew-wind-turbines-away-Landmark-victory-villagers-fight-threat-countryside.html#ixzz1wKvOwQeP

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2151874/Day-little-man-blew-wind-turbines-away-Landmark-victory-villagers-fight-threat-countryside.html#ixzz1wKvJ6c7B

And here is the Ballilaw full decision highlighted Sea & Land Power & Energy Ltd v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and  Great Yarmouth Borough Council [2012] EWHC 1419 (Admin)

On 18 June 2010, the Claimant appealed against the Second Defendant’s decision. It submitted that the Development Plan comprised the Regional Spatial Strategy (East of England Plan) (“the RSS”), the Norfolk Structure Plan and the Great Yarmouth Borough-Wide Local Plan. The renewable energy policies in the RSS – ENG1 and 2 – required local authorities to support and encourage the supply of energy from decentralised renewable and low carbon sources and stated that a minimum of 17% of the region’s energy should be from renewable sources by 2020

It contended that the proposed development was not contrary to local policies NNV2, NNV3 and NNV7, since the landscape and visual impacts were only significant in the immediate vicinity of the site, and so it was not in breach of the Development Plan.

In the alternative, it submitted that other material considerations strongly supported the grant of planning permission, referring in particular to PPS22 on renewable energy and the supplement to PPS1, which advises planning authorities on how to promote and encourage renewable energy generation….

The exercise of planning judgment and the weighing of the various issues are entirely matters for that decision-maker and not for the Court: Seddon Properties v Secretary of State for the Environment (1981) 42 P & CR 26, at 28 and Tesco v Secretary of State for the Environment [1995] 1 W1.R 759, at 780. In the latter case Lord Hoffmann said “If there is one principle of planning law more firmly settled than any other, it is that matters of planning judgment are within the exclusive province of the local planning authority or the Secretary of State”….

The Claimant submits that the Inspector failed to take into account the material issues raised by the RSS because she did not refer to the regional targets. Nor did she refer to the regional deficit in meeting the targets for renewable energy, and the extent to which this development would help to reduce the deficit.

In my judgment, paragraph 26 of the decision letter shows that she did take these issues into account. She identified the contribution which this development would make to the energy needs of the area (5500 homes/14% of the needs in the Council’s area) and she accepted that it “would play an important part locally” in meeting “the Government’s targets for a renewable energy supply”. The phrase “the Government’s targets” includes the specific targets in the RSS, as well as the more general national targets….

The Claimant submits that the Inspector’s reasons were inadequate without a more detailed reference to the deficit and the contribution this development would have made to its reduction. It was argued that this was the central issue on the appeal, and the Claimant did not know why it had lost on this point. Applying the well-established principles set out …above. I consider that the reasons in the decision letter were adequate. I accept that they were not as legalistic or comprehensive as the reasons given in the other examples of decision letters shown to me, but nonetheless they met the minimum standard required by law….

The Claimant’s third ground of appeal was that the Inspector failed to give “primacy” to national policy, in circumstances where there was a conflict between local plan policies and national policy.

The Claimant submitted that the local landscape policies are inconsistent with PPS1, paragraph 22, because they restrict development. In particular, NNV7 prohibits development in the countryside unless it is in keeping with the rural character of the area. A wind turbine development by its nature is unlikely to be in keeping with the rural character of the area so that if NNV7 were to be applied without the necessary regard to the provisions of PPS22 and the Supplement to PPS1 it would effectively create a bar to wind farm development in rural areas.

In my judgment, the Claimant’s analysis was misconceived, for the reasons given by the First Defendant.

First, the landscape policies are part of the Great Yarmouth Borough-Wide Local Plan. This is part of the statutory development plan as defined by s. 38(3) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 read with the transitional provisions contained in that Act S. 38 (6) of that Act provides that “[i]f regard is to be had to the development plan for the purpose of any determination to be made under the planning Acts the determination must be made in accordance with the plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise”. This provision gives effect to what is called the plan- led system. There is thus a statutory presumption in favour of the statutory development plan, here that includes the local plan and its policies on landscape. In contrast, national planning policies (including PPS22 and the PPS1 supplement) are merely other material considerations…

Thus the legal position is that the statutory presumption lies in favour of the statutory development plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise. National planning policy is a material consideration. Where national policies change, this can amount to a material consideration of sufficient weight to reach a decision other than in accordance with the statutory development plan but this is not mandatory; rather it involves a balancing exercise for the decision-maker, in this case the Inspector.

Second, the Claimant has misinterpreted the PPS1 supplement. It does not “require” the Inspector to give “primacy” to national policy over local policy. It provides that national policies are a material consideration which “may” supersede the policies in the development plan” (paragraph 11). They will not necessarily do so. This recognises that what is involved is a balancing exercise between different policies…

As I have already explained, as a matter of law it is not correct to assert that the national policy promoting the use of renewable resources in PPS1 paragraph 22 negates the local landscape policies or must be given “primacy” over them. As the First Defendant submits, this is simply a case of policies pulling in different directions: harm to landscape and the benefits of renewable energy. The Inspector was required to have regard to both sets of policies and to undertake a balancing exercise.

The judge has simply reinforced existing law.  Far more will be made of this case than it merits.  It will be used by some cllrs, as the MP above implies,  as licence to state local landscape policies outweigh national targets.  Of course those local plan landscape policies need to be in place.  This will be to entirely miss the judges point that the two issues should be weighed and balanced.  If the impact on the landscape is high and gain for carbon free energy low a refusal will be safely upheld, as will an approval where the reverse is the case.