Plans for three 95– metre–high wind turbines in Harthill have provoked mixed reactions from residents this week.
Rotherham planning board will have to decide whether or not to grant planning permission for the 1.3 megawatt turbines, which would stand on Loscar Farm, between Harthill and Thorpe Salvin.
But before the decision is taken, residents were given a preview of what could be to come at an exhibition at Harthill Village Hall on Tuesday.
Applicants Cornwall Light and Power (CLP) were quick to point out that if given the go-ahead, the turbines would contribute 40 per cent of the 2010 renewable energy target for Rotherham.
But this fact was not enough to sway many sceptical locals.
“They are a blot on the landscape,” said retired accountant Brian Mottram, of Northlands, Harthill.
“They have an effect on wildlife, especially on big birds that can’t swerve out of the way quick enough.”
Around three-quarters of electricity in France is produced by nuclear power. And Mr Mottram suggested the same should be done here.
“People talk of the dangers involved with nuclear power, but has anyone come back from France radio active?” he said.
“Some people don’t mind the turbines. I think it will affect house prices in what is, at the moment, an attractive village and a close community.”
Another resident, James Barclay, of Darley Close, wanted to know how Harthill would gain from having wind power.
“How will this benefit the village?” he said. “Will we get a reduction on our electricity rates and how will it affect the wildlife?”
David Dunn, a retired analytical chemist from Kiveton Park, said: “I think they are just a waste of money.”
“It seems to me that if we want to keep using power as we are there’s no alternative to nuclear,” he added.
Several residents have expressed concerns about the sound emitted by the rotating blades.
“Some people don’t appreciate the noise pollution the turbines create,” said Barry Lancaster, who lives in the north of the village.
“I think I’ll be able to hear them from my home.”
“And we might also see the flickering effects from sunlight hitting the blades.”
But some claimed Harthill should be proud to be the chosen location for the scheme.
“It’s about time we had wind power,” said Yvonne Ashford, of Harthill Crescent.
“I think some of the opposition is from people who are jealous they didn’t think of it themselves.”
“I’ve lived in the village for 70 years. And many of the people who are objecting haven’t been here five minutes.”
“I’d have one in my garden,” she added.
CLP project developer Daniel Letch said a mixed reaction is expected with any application for plans like these.
“The majority of people who turn up are usually against the plans,” he said.
“Some people think the turbines look beautiful, others see them as a blot on their landscape. But RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) studies have shown that house prices won’t be affected.”
Outside the hall, Chairman Dave Bentley and his Harthill and Woodhall Action Group distributed leaflets listing 23 reasons for objecting to the plans.
“All the facts on here are from learned bodies,” he said.
“We need to act now to save our beautiful villages and countryside.”
“Once permission has been granted for these three, it will be almost impossible for Rotherham council to refuse other applications.”
By Gareth Dennison
18 June 2007
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