A large area of moorland in the south Pennines has been confirmed as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), including the site of National Wind Power's planned wind farm at Flaight Hill in West Yorkshire. The designation by government quango English Nature covers 21,000 hectares and is intended primarily to protect birdlife and their habitats. It will affect all forms of land use and moorland management. However, John Ainslie of National Wind Power claims the designation does not alter the suitability of Flaight Hill for a wind farm. "We have assessed the project against the known conservation features of the site and believe it does not conflict with them. The nature conservation value of the land does not change just because of the designation," he says. "It is always our policy when working in upland moorland environments to do everything that is reasonable to protect and where possible enhance the nature conservation value of the site," he adds. NWP first lodged its planning application to build 44 wind turbines at Flaight Hill in November 1993. The company later asked for more time to produce extra information in response to objectors' fears. Now the project is on the back burners while NWP concentrates its resources on more promising sites. "We have not got a NFFO contract for the site at Flaight Hill so it does not come at the top of our priority list," Ainslie explains.
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Senior Renewable Energy Analyst (WindGEMINI Product Lead) DNV GL Bristol (City Centre), City of Bristol