Plans to put up five 400ft wind turbines between the South Yorkshire communities of Stocksbridge and Penistone are to be “vigorously opposed” by members of a new pressure group.
Sheffield-based renewable energy firm Evelop has applied to Barnsley Council for permission to build the wind farm at Sheephouse Heights, close to the A616 Stocksbridge bypass.
But according to the recently-formed Protect Sheephouse Heights group, most residents in both towns are unhappy about the development and feel their area is being unfairly targeted.
Several sites around Penistone are already home to wind turbines, and pressure group spokesman Alan Hey voiced worries that the area, on the edge of the Pennines, would soon be “encircled”.
He said: “The pressure group is just coming together. We have had two meetings so far and expect to gather a lot more support as people realism that we actually exist.
“We want to raise public awareness of this because we feel that some residents are not really aware of the effect that this scheme may have if it is given permission by councillors.
“We are trying to educate people about the potential problems because while we all know about global warming, we don’t want to create other issues while we try to address that.”
Mr Hey said many members of the group were most concerned about “loss of visual amenity” and added that the turbines were among some of the biggest ever to be proposed in the area.
He added: “These are massive structures which are being built 1,000ft above sea level. That means they are going to need massive foundations and there are concerns about the effect on drainage.
“Other effects include noise and stroboscopic effects caused by the blades passing over the face of the sun, particularly in winter time and other possible health effects of the turbines.”
Mr Hey also said there was “no point being hypocritical” and admitted that many people in the area were also concerned about the impact the windfarm would have on house prices.
Wind turbines have been caused concern to residents in South Yorkshire for some time, and a new turbine which had been erected alongside the Sheffield Parkway at Catcliffe broke in last Sunday’s high winds.
Plans for a six-turbine wind farm in Westwood Country Park in Sheffield were announced earlier this year as part of a Sheffield Council led experiment on wind power generation.
The scheme was supported by the previous Labour administration, but was immediately shelved as “unsuitable” after the May elections by the winning Liberal Democrat group.
The Sheephouse Heights wind farm is one of three currently being considered by Barnsley Council planners.
Energy company E.ON has already applied to build three 330ft turbines at Blackstone Edge, and farmer Jeff Pears has applied to put up five turbines, each 275ft high, at nearby Spicer Hill.
No one at Evelop was available for comment yesterday, but a statement on the firm’s website says: “We are keen to engage the local community in our plans.
“The wind farm has a potential electricity generation capacity of up to 15 megawatts, which could supply the equivalent of approximately 9,000 homes per year.
“It is envisaged that the wind farm will be in operation for 25 years. At the end of this period the wind farm will either be decommissioned or a new application will be submitted.
“Once the wind farm has reached the end of its lifespan, the decommissioning process will include removal of the turbines.”
For more details on the group’s campaign visit www.protectsheephouseheights.co.uk
or phone 0114 2831581.
26 June 2008
By Martin Slack
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding