Coronation Power has submitted planning applications for nine 410ft-high wind turbines overlooking Todmorden.
The firm says the five machines on Todmorden Moor and four at nearby Reaps Moss will help generate clean and sustainable energy, and tackle the harmful effects of climate change.
But the impact on the landscape even before they are built will also be dramatic.
Pictures of Scout Moor, near Rochdale, show how access roads and foundations for another windfarm are changing the appearance of the land, disturbing peat mosses, wildlife, the peace and tranquillity.
Robin Pennie, secretary of the Todmorden Moor Restoration Trust, said he was horrified by the proposals and the destruction the turbines would cause.
“Whatever happens, it is going to affect the peat and its ability to retain water.
“That will affect the water table, natural springs and local water courses, which, in turn, will lead to an increased risk of flooding.”
Mr Pennie said the moor was riddled with old mine workings which could be disturbed and there was also an argument about how much electrictiy the turbines would actually produce.
“Using Coronation Power’s own figures, they would only be operating at full
load the equivalent of 27 per cent of the time.”
And even that is an estimate because a Government planning inspector recently refused to allow Coronation Power to build a 60-metre wind gauge on the site because of the effect it might have on a model flying club.
The club has maintained a carefully manicured takeoff and landing strip on the moor since the end of World War Two.
But the company is determined to proceed following what it called a 20-month assessment of the environmental impact of their proposals, detailed technical studies and widespread consultation with people living and working in the surrounding area.
The studies have looked at a range of issues including landscaping, local ecology and hydrology, noise, bird movements, mineworkings, archaeology and the wind farms’ construction, said Vickram Mirchandani, Coronation Power’s managing director.
Working to capacity, the Todmorden Moor turbines will generate up to 15 MW of power for the equivalent of approximately 8,300 homes and those at Reaps Moss up to 12MW of electricity, the equivalent to the annual energy needs of about 6,700 homes.
“These sites are ideal locations for small wind farms, and if permission is granted local people can directly benefit from their operation,” said Mr Mirchandani.
Subject to receiving planning consent, building work is due to begin in the second half of 2008.
Each farm will be connected to the National Grid for use in the north west region.
By Michael Peel
19 February 2007