Two huge wind farms have been given the go-ahead by the Government, to the anger of countryside campaigners and the delight of environmental pressure groups.
Applications for the turbines at Tween Bridge on Thorne Moors, near Doncaster, and at nearby Keadby, near Scunthorpe, were officially approved by Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks yesterday.
The Keadby scheme will involve 39 turbines, each 300ft high, while the Thorne scheme will have 22. It has been claimed they will produce enough electricity to power 65,500 homes.
Mr Wicks said the move would be good for Britain, and his decision was supported by Friends of the Earth, which gave evidence at a public inquiry into the wind farm schemes in early 2007.
But the Council to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and local campaigners attacked the decision, while people who will live in the shadow of the turbines spoke of their disbelief.
David Patterson, who lives in Keadby, and was secretary of a pressure group which opposed the schemes at the inquiry said: “This decision is absolutely appalling.
“It just shows the utter contempt the Government and Ministers have for the democratic voice of people who have voted and campaigned against this thing going ahead.
“I have several objections, and have done a great deal of research and compiled a policy document for the public inquiry. These turbines will have a massive negative impact both on people and the environment.
“Each one will need a huge concrete base, and this could affect drainage in this low-lying countryside. What will the Government do when this whole area has flooded?”
Mr Patterson added: “There are also health and house price issues. These things are going to be three times the size of the present pylons. There is no joined-up thinking where this Government is involved.”
The head of planning at the South Yorkshire branch of the CPRE, Andy Tickle, said the decision would wreck the Humberhead peatlands around Thorne and Hatfield, which are unique in Britain.
Mr Tickle added: “This area is a natural treasure house and we are horrified that this proposal has been given Government approval. It is totally undeveloped, but these turbines will wreck that.
“It is a green island for the people of South Yorkshire and a jewel in the crown of nature reserves, but that does not seem to matter to the people who made this decision.”
Objections had been raised by nearby Robin Hood Airport, which was worried about the turbines’ effect on flightpaths, but yesterday a spokesman said alterations had been made which eased their concerns.
The Yorkshire and Humber branch of Friends of the Earth congratulated the Government on its decision to grant planning permission and called for more similar developments.
Regional campaigner Simon Bowens said: “Climate change is the biggest environmental threat our planet faces. We need to ensure that the right solutions are in place to tackle this threat.”
n Plans for an £18m plant in North Yorkshire to turn waste into energy for thousands of homes have been endorsed by the Yorkshire and Humber Assembly.
The proposals for the energy-from-waste plant at Tockwith sparked widespread protest from nearby residents, although developers have attempted to allay pollution fears.
By Martin Slack
3 March 2008
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