The first step in plans for a wind farm on land near Darrington looks set for approval.
An application to erect a 60m-high wind monitoring mast has been recommended for approval by Wakefield Council planning officers at a meeting this week.
More than 700 residents have objected to the application, and are set to make their voices heard at this week’s meeting.
The mast will be put in place ahead of a scheme to build six wind turbines on the site off Westfield Lane.
Plans for that project have already been submitted and are yet to go before the planning committee.
The wind monitoring mast will be used to collect wind data and, if approved, will be in place for a maximum of three years gathering information.
Furious residents have vowed to fight the wind farm plans by developers Banks Developments Ltd, saying the farm will be too close to residential areas, will be an eyesore and will affect the value of their homes.
But a report to the council’s Planning and Highways Committee, which meets on Friday, says: “Over 730 letters of objection have been received. The letters express concerns regarding the possibility of the wind farm and its impacts.
“However, this application is to be determined on its own merits and not as a precursor for a wind farm.”
Protestors have already been going head-to-head with developers at public exhibitions held to showcase the scheme.
Banks showcased their plans for six turbines in two exhibitions in Carleton and Wentbridge.
But action groups protesting against the wind farm displayed their own exhibitions at the same venues.
Tony Hames, chairman of Pontefract Wind Farm Action Group, said: “This wind mast is an integral part of the wind farm development and we intend to fight it all the way.
“We will be there at the meeting and we’ll be making our voices heard with the support of our local councillors.”
Banks say the wind farm would generate enough energy to power around one in 20 of all the homes in Wakefield, and would meet the city’s renewable energy targets for the rest of the decade.
A statement from Banks on the planning report says: “The data from the proposed 60m mast is a very important part of evaluating the renewable energy potential of the site.
“Wind information currently available about the site shows the site has a good wind resource for commercial wind energy development, which is why Banks has decided to progress with the site.
“However on-site monitoring is required to evaluate the wind resource in detail.”
By Stuart Robinson
Yorkshire Evening Post
21 May 2007
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