United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Yorkshire plans stir opposition

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National Wind Power (NWP) has unveiled plans for its largest wind farm to date. It has applied for planning permission to build 44 turbines at Flaight Hill on Cockhill Moor above Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire. If it goes ahead, the £20 million project could generate up to 22 MW.

The wind farm would be the second to be built in the Calderdale area of West Yorkshire. Only 2.5 kilometres away are Yorkshire Windpower's 23 Vestas Windane turbines at Ovenden Moor. According to NWP's John Ainslie, both developments would appear as two separate wind farms in the landscape. But he believes it is preferable to position wind farms close to each other rather than extending them widely over the landscape where they would be visible from more locations.

The scheme has already aroused opposition from local groups. "We have received 330 letters about the wind farm," says Beverley Smith from Calderdale District Council's planning department. "At the last count 37 were in favour of the project with the remainder -- almost 300 -- opposed." The representations were predominantly from the local area, although several have been received by people further away who walk in the area and feel strongly about the proposals, she says. Objectors include Wadsworth Parish Council within whose boundary the project lies. The council is reported as being annoyed at the lack of prior consultation by NWP. However after writing to the council with a copy of its plans, NWP is disappointed that councillors voted on the issue without any consultation.

Other major local figures opposed to the plan are Calderdale Member of Parliament (MP) Sir Donald Thompson and Euro MP Barry Seal who is worried at the rate that wind farms are being developed without being part of an overall energy strategy. He intends to raise the issue with the environment committee of the European Union.

More than 200 people turned out to view the plans at a two day exhibition at Hebden Bridge. "That kind of event usually attracts people who have got concerns, but most appeared to be in favour," says Ainslie.

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