THE fight is not over. That is the message from defiant campaigners battling plans for a wind farm above Denshaw.
And a massive fund-raising appeal has been launched to take on the multi-billion pound company behind the proposals.
Campaigners won the first round in February when Oldham’s planning committee threw out an application for seven 350ft turbines on land off Huddersfield Road.
However, e.on, which owns companies such as Powergen, is fighting the decision and a planning inspector is expected to hear an appeal next year.
Oldham Council has appointed a QC to defend its decision while Saddleworth Moors Action Group (SMAG) wants to raise at least £15,000 to take on an expert to fight its case.
Around 50 people attended a meeting at Delph Club on Friday to be updated on the developments. And guest speaker Phil Woolas, the MP for Oldham East, told them: “I am confident we are on strong ground. That is why I have puzzled hard as to what e.on is up to.”
But he conceded that t a step-change was needed in energy production and consumption, and that the role of wind farms in this had divided even the large environmental groups.
Mr Woolas stressed that the appeal would be decided on planning grounds alone – with Denshaw’s position on the edge of the Peak District National Park a major factor.
“Just because you are in favour of wind farms, it does not mean you would put one in the middle of the Lake District,” he said.
“Planning rules protect our national parks, not just for the people who live and work in the vicinity, but for people from the cities.
“To destroy the countryside here – and I believe putting up turbines would do that – would destroy it for the people who visit from Halifax, Rochdale, Manchester and further afield.”
The wind farm was first proposed in 2003 by United Utilities which still owns the land but has sold the proposed development to e.on.
A major campaign to oppose the move has attracted high-profile support from environmentalist David Bellamy and Sir Bernard Ingham, Margaret Thatcher’s former press officer. Friday’s meeting was organised by parish councillors Ken Hulme, Pam Preston and Phillida Shipp.
Parish Councillor John Hudson also spoke and said: “This is not just about Delph and Denshaw, it goes wider than that. It is very worrying for the whole of Saddleworth and the whole of the Pennines.”
He urged people to make the fight non-political and he added: “I don’t see this in any way, shape or form as being a political matter. It is a common sense issue.”
By Karen Doherty
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding