CAMPAIGNERS have had a 'sensational victory' after a ruling was made to overturn plans for 16 wind turbines.

A public inquiry was launched last year after plans were approved by both Rochdale and Rossendale Councils to add a further 16 turbines at Scout Moor, near Edenfield.

The application for 14 of the turbines was refused on Friday 'for a period of up to 25 years' by the secretary of state.

The decision letter said: "The secretary of state considers that the proposal would be inappropriate development in the Green Belt, would have an adverse impact on the openness of the Green Belt and would be a further intrusion into this part of the countryside.

"These harms attract significant weight."

Permission has been given for the other two turbines to go ahead, providing they meet several planning conditions and are no larger than 115m to the tip.

The Secretary of State said ‘other considerations’ in the case clearly outweigh the harm identified, such as the renewable benefits of the scheme.

The full plans originally submitted by Peel Energy and United Utilities were given the go-ahead in 2015.

However the application was 'called in' by the secretary of state to take the planning permission for the application out of the local authority's hands.

Campaigners fighting the plans said 97 per cent of comments received by Rossendale Council before a decision was made were objections to the wind-farm.

Falmai Binns, chair of Bury Rural Inequalities Forum, said: "It's sensational, we've won.

"We're very grateful for the Lancashire Telegraph for letting our voice be heard, they helped us a lot.

"We are very delighted and very surprised the decision has been made to scrap the plans for 14 of the turbines in Rossendale.

"The other two are in Rochdale and there is quite a lot of conditions in place for them."

An appeal could be lodged against the verdict from the secretary of state, but must be done so with a letter to the high court within six weeks.

Cllr Alyson Barnes, leader of Rossendale Council, said: “We are extremely disappointed about this.

"There was support for the planning application from local businesses and other groups and the councillors on the planning committee that approved this application know the local area very well.

"I am of the belief that this decision by the secretary of state conflicts with the government’s drive for local decision making but as a council we remain resolute and determined and will be considering what options are available to us.”