A 50-metre-high wind mast is set to get the go-ahead in a village near York, despite strong opposition from residents.
Yorkshire Water wants to install an “environmental-monitoring mast” at its treatment works in Kexby Lane, Elvington, for 18 months, to see whether a wind turbine would be viable.
But locals say the mast is too close to nearby homes; will have a detrimental impact on the appearance of the village; and is in the flight path of aircraft using Elvington Airfield. They say any future turbine development could also be a hazard for birds, and would cause noise pollution.
Elvington Parish Council and more than 40 residents have objected to the scheme, but councillors have been advised to approve it when they consider the application next week.
In a report to City of York Council’s east area planning sub-committee, officer Matthew Parkinson said that, due to its thin-ness, the mast would cause no visual harm to the area. He said councillors could only consider the immediate impact of the mast, not the possible consequences of any later turbine development.
He said that if councillors backed the mast, it “does not in anyway suggest support for a future turbine, which will have to be assessed on its own merits”.
Earlier this year, parish council chairman Ian Bailey urged local residents to write to the city council, to show the “strength of feeling” against the proposal.
As well as the parish council’s submissions, he also wrote to the city council personally, saying the scheme was “universally opposed by the residents of Elvington”.
He wrote: “The local community is fully supportive of the development of renewable energy sources but is – so far as I am aware – without exception, opposed to this application for many different reasons.”
The parish council said that, as a water firm, Yorkshire Water should seek to use water power by conducting research in the nearby River Derwent.
One local resident wrote: “I do not object to a temporary mast for 18 months, however if this leads on to a permanent wind turbine, the value of my house will be negatively affected by the visibility and noise of the turbine.
“I assume there will be adequate compensation.”
Another couple wrote: “Vitally, we believe that to permit Yorkshire Water to wilfully destroy the surroundings of an important dormitory village to the city would represent an appalling abrogation by the council of their duty to their citizens.”
The application will be considered at the Guildhall at 2pm next Thursday.
By Gavin Aitchison
6 March 2008
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