A giant steel mast could be erected in rolling South Yorkshire countryside – which could pave the way for a third major wind farm near Rotherham.
Developers are asking for planning permission to erect the 130ft or 40-metre structure near a disused brickworks at Maltby.
If approved, it will be used for 18 months to collect weather information in support of future proposals for a wind farm in the area.
Rotherham Council has already approved a wind farm at Loscar Farm, Harthill, despite a major campaign to halt it.
And, last week, the council revealed it is in talks with Chesterfield-based energy company Banks about plans for an even bigger wind farm at Penny Hill, between Ulley and Thurcroft.
News of a potential third application will come as a blow to campaigners who fear parts of Rotherham’s green belt could soon be blighted by a forest of turbines.
An application for a similar weather mast at Carr Lane, Ulley, was refused three years ago, on the grounds it would be an eyesore.
But councillors are expected to grant the latest application at a meeting this week, after they were told that renewable energy such as wind farms are now a major government priority.
A report by planning officers says: “The mast would collect meteorological data at the Maltby site for 18 months in order to form an evaluation and viability process for a future wind turbine project.
“It is acknowledged that due to its significant height on elevated land the mast will be visible from the surrounding area.
“However, owing to the slimline nature of the galvanised steel tube and wire construction, it should limit the visual prominence.”
n Rotherham Council’s planning committee is also deciding this week whether two small wind turbines can be erected at Oakwood Technical College, Moorgate Road, as part of the institution’s plans for energy conservation, and to use as a teaching aid.
By Ray Parkin
21 May 2008
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