Electricity generated by the £50M windfarm at Scout Moor should be powering homes in Rochdale by the summer of 2008.
Peel Wind Power, the company behind the development, says the 26 turbines ““ the first of which is to be delivered on site by November this year ““- will be capable of meeting the energy needs of 40,000 Rochdale properties.
It also says the windfarm, one of the largest in the country, will prevent the release of 160,000 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
When the windfarm is finally up and running it will have been four years in the making.
A public inquiry was held in December 2004 after the developers, United Utilities and the Peel Group, had objected to Rochdale Council’s decision to deny them planning permission for the moorland site, which covers several acres of common land between Scout and Knowl moors.
The inquiry followed a lengthy campaign by the Friends of Scout Moor who had enlisted the help of such celebrity supporters as the TV botanist, Professor David Bellamy.
They were concerned about the environmental impact such a large windfarm ““ with turbines two thirds the size of Blackpool Tower ““ would have on the moors above Rochdale.
It was a concern shared by neighbouring local authorities, Rochdale, Bury and Lancashire County Council, who had all objected to the scheme.
However, the Planning Inspectorate recommended the project go-ahead even though United Utilities had pulled out by that time.
Ministerial approval came in May 2005.
Peel Wind Power Ltd ““ the green arm of the Peel group which has assets worth more than £4.5 billion, including the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company, Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport and the Trafford Centre ““ then began initial design work.
The first stage of site construction began last November when an access track to the site was modified and upgraded.
In addition 12 kilometres of additional tracks are being laid from Scout Moor quarry east across the moor in the direction of Knowl Hill.
Work has also started on the windfarm’s substation, which is being built south of Edenfield Road near Ashworth Moor reservoir.
Peel says civil infrastucture work should be finished by November, when the first turbine will be delivered to the site.
All the turbines should be erected by December and full generation is expected to start in June the following year.
Peel director Richard Brewster said: “We are aware that some local residents have concerns about the impact of the project, but Peel remains committed to ensuring that disruption during construction and the operational life of the windfarm is minimal.”
The public can keep track of how the project is progressing by logging on to www.scoutmoorwindfarm.co.uk.
By Dave Appleton
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