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Wind farms look set to go ahead — with warning lights for aircraft 

Two of the 300ft turbines at a controversial wind farm to be built near Harrogate will have to carry aviation lights, planning councillors have overwhelmingly decided.
Originally, there were no plans to erect warning lights on any of the eight turbines which will shortly make up the Knabs Ridge Wind Farm by Npower Renewables Ltd between Skipton Road and Penny Pot Lane at Felliscliffe.

But when Npower sought planning permission to move two of the turbines because they would interfere with a British Telecom link across the site members of Harrogate Borough Council Planning voted to ensure warning lights would be erected by backing an amendment.

They insisted a condition of planning must be that two turbines being re-sited would carry warning lights.

A plea for them had been strongly made to members by Michael Lowsley, Countryside Secretary of Harrogate Ramblers’ Group, who addressed the planning meeting.

Harrogate Borough Council’s Planning Committee had originally refused permission for the Nidderdale project.

But this decision was called in for a public inquiry where an inspector government overruled the council decision after a hearing lasting almost a fortnight.

Mr Lowsley told this week’s planning meeting:”We consider that the planning inspector, albeit with limited information, made a judgemental error in not requiring aviation lighting.”

He said following the inspector’s ruling the ramblers’ group accepted there would be a wind farm.

“The issue we have is that on current evidence the turbines should be fitted with aviation warning lights as they represent a significant hazard to air navigation,” he said.

Coun Elwyn Hinchcliffe, who represents Lower Nidderdale ward where the turbines will be erected, supported the plea to move the two turbines but added: “As far as the lights are concerned it is a bit of a grey area if it is not necessary in safety terms.

Commenting in an earlier letter to Harrogate planning chiefs on aviation lighting from the Civil Aviation Authority about the Knabs Ridge proposal an official said the wind farm would be in an extremely busy portion of air space.

It would be utilised by all manner of flying activity, including military fast jets and, under certain circumstances, aircraft inbound to Leeds Bradford International Airport.

A report to the meeting from borough council planning officials said although they recognised there would be some impact this clearly needed to be balanced against an overriding need for renewable energy.

But the borough council said no development can take place on the site until the applicant has secured a programme of archaeological works.

Ahead of the inquiry the power company said the wind farm would generate enough electricity to serve 7,000 homes.


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