There is a serious danger that three wind power proposals above Todmorden will be “fast tracked” through the planning appeal process, and local concerns set aside in favour of the Government’s “green” energy targets, say local campaigners.
Planning appeals for wind power sites on Todmorden Moor, Crook Hill and Reaps Moss will be put together in one appeal hearing later this year, according to the Planning Inspectorate in Bristol.
Local campaigners against the wind turbines are very concerned that the three sites proposed, with a total of 20, 410ft high turbines, will be treated by the Inspectorate as one big wind farm. If the total installed capacity is 60MW or over, the Inspectorate refer to it as a site “of major importance having more than local significance”.
If this happens, local concerns such as the risk to people’s spring water supplies, or the threat of flooding due to loss of peat on the tops, or loss of the open moorland that gives Todmorden its character, could be set aside, in favour of Government targets on renewable electricity, says a local spokesman.
The Todmorden Moor Restoration Trust, TMRT, has already written to Chris McCafferty MP to ask her to find out from the Environment Agency why their office in Leeds has not flagged up the heightened flood risk to Todmorden, Cornholme, and Walsden if road construction and turbine bases are allowed to destroy the peat above the town.
Now the group has written again, asking the MP to get reassurance from Government that the three wind turbine sites will be individually dealt with at appeal, and three separate decisions made, based on the primary importance of many local environmental implications.
“It is absurd to now link all the sites together and pretend they are one w
ind farm,” said Robin Pennie for TMRT. “All the environmental information from Coronation Power is based on separate sites.”
“There are three proposed site accesses and three traffic assessments. The complicated geology and history of old mines on the tops are all different, so are the implications for spring water supplies. It is seven km. (about four and a half miles) from one end of Crook Hill to Todmorden Moor, and the area affects two separate flood prone valleys, with many different residential communities.”
TMRT is aware that Coronation Power would be very pleased if the strong objections identified by all three councils, and by hundreds of local objectors, were considered of less importance than the Government’s targets.
“We must not let this happen,” said Robin Pennie. “No energy company has the right to assume Government targets should take precedence over local risk.”
6 April 2008
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