A property developer has lined up countryside around Colne as a potential site for a wind energy farm.
Discussions over a small community-based turbine scheme in Trawden were well under way when it emerged that Derbyshire-based company Bolsterstone plc had carried out feasibility studies and tests around Boulsworth Hill.
Company director Mr Mike Corker confirmed the area between Boulsworth Moor Road and Trawden is included on a shortlist of 12 sites which have been whittled down from an initial 500 options across the country.
Trawden Forest parish councillors who were involved with the small-scale community scheme, which would have included two or three turbines, said their plans had been hijacked and they could be punished for showing a willingness to “do their bit” for the environment.
Mr Corker said: “We are looking at a site near Trawden. I became aware of a community scheme to create a wind farm in the area, and thought it was a good opportunity to share some information. Researching sites is a very expensive process, and we have already put a lot of money into various studies around the country.
“We are at least 12 months away from submitting a planning application, if we decide to go ahead with one at all. If we decide not to use information from our studies, I would want to give it to the Trawden community scheme rather than see them having to pay tens of thousands of pounds to consultants.
“If we do decide to push ahead with the site, I would rather work with residents than against them. For example, if they were quoted £1million for a national grid connection for two turbines they would probably have to pack it in. If we were talking £1million for eight or 10 turbines between us, it becomes more feasible.”
Parish council chairman Karen Galvin said: “I feel cheated. All of a sudden one or two turbines is not an option any more. This is the biggest thing to hit Trawden for a long time.
“I’m not against the idea of wind power in principle, but I don’t want to be part of a council which allowed a 50-turbine wind farm to be put up around our village. We need to get everything out in the open, discuss this issue with Trawden residents and go forward with their views in mind.”
Winewall-based Friends of the Earth campaigner Mr Brain Jackson, said: “More should be done to reduce energy demand by becoming more efficient and encouraging people to economise with electricity. Once that has been achieved there is a case for looking at creating more wind farms.
“There are other, less-intrusive ways of creating electricity through micro-generation, where there is more responsibility on individuals to supply their own power. But if there is a need for windmills, I believe the best place for them is off-shore. We don’t want them plastering all over hills in our ever-dwindling countryside.”
The issue will be discussed at a specially-arranged public meeting on Monday, January 15th at Trawden Community Centre.
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