Work has started on a controversial wind farm in the Yorkshire Dales.
The eight 300ft-high turbines are being built at Knabs Ridge near Harrogate – just 50ft outside the boundary marking an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
A planning inquiry decided the NPower Renewables scheme could go ahead despite opposition from the local council and countryside campaigners.
It is expected to take 11 months to complete and will provide enough “green electricity” annually for 7,000 homes.
Opponents of the scheme said the turbines would have a detrimental effect on the landscape.
‘Smack in the face’
However, NPower said many people regarded them as “very graceful features”.
Harrogate Borough Council’s cabinet member responsible for planning, Richard Cooper, said: “This decision flies in the face of common sense.
“For a government inspector to come to our district and ignore all the good planning reasons why these towering metal structures should not be allowed is a smack in the face to local people and the local council.
“A large number of conditions have been attached to the government inspector’s planning permission, but even these cannot really mitigate against such massive turbines set against such a picturesque and beautiful background.”
John Ainslee, of NPower Renewables, said: “To liken them to industrial blots on the landscape, like tall electricity pylons, is not most people’s perception of what a wind farm will look like.
“This is a substantial step forward in renewable energy provision in North Yorkshire, and will make a valuable contribution towards the fight against global warming.”
He said the wind farm would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 23,000 tonnes a year.
“Existing wind farms in the UK enjoy very high levels of local support,” he said.
“I have no doubt that Knabs Ridge Wind Farm will also become an accepted feature of the local landscape.”
1 March 2007
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