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Storm blowing up over city's first wind farm  

Sheffield’s first-ever wind farm could be whirring away on the hills above High Green under plans drawn up by council chiefs.

Westwood Country Park has been identified as the likely first location for between two and six wind turbines, each standing between 60 and 100 metres tall.

The site has been identified as part of regional plans to contribute to the UK’s renewable energy generation.

But the plans could blow up a storm because the proposed site is parkland used by local people to walk their dogs and by a local model aircraft club, who could be forced to move.

Sheffield Council’s cabinet is set to approve a new feasibility study today and invite proposals from developers interested in building the wind farm.

Developers would pay the estimated £12 million to build the wind farm, with the council putting up the land on a 20-year lease.

Council bosses say that, if the wind farm is approved, the park would stay open during its construction, and once it was built.

But Andy Bufton, secretary of Concord Model Flying Club, which has been using the park for 25 years, said: “We have just had a grant from the lottery for £6,000 to build a track for disabled people up to our site. That has gone to waste now.

“Finding another site will be very difficult because of the noise.

“We knew the park was in the running to be the site of a wind farm. People from the estate near the park come up every weekend to see us. They say they don’t want the wind farm as it will be smack in their line of sight.”

The council say further parkland could “possibly” be targeted for more wind farms in the future.

And officers confirmed “very informal” talks have even been held with the Peak District National Park Authority about the possible use of land for future wind farms, although none are planned “at this stage.”

“There are no no-go areas,” said Andy Nolan, Sheffield Council’s head of environmental strategy.

“It would depend on the style and location. But areas around the National Park are more difficult than
other areas.

“Although other urban parks would be unlikely to see proposals on this scale.”

The Westwood turbines would be the first of at least three or four wind farms to be built in the next 13 years.

Coun Mary Lea, the council’s cabinet member for sustainable development, said: “People need to get used to the idea that these wind farms are going to be all over the country.”

Other sites which could be used in the future include Skye Edge, Redmires, Dore and Totley, and Butterwaite Farm near Ecclesfield.

By Tony Belshaw

The Star

6 February 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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