An historic hillside overlooking Carsington Water would be marred by a proposed new wind farm, the inquiry into the development has heard.
The controversial scheme, by Carsington Wind Energy Ltd (CWEL), would see four 100m wind turbines erected on land at Carsington Pastures.
The public inquiry was told last week by Adam Summerhayes, a member of Carsington and Hopton Parish Council, which opposes the plan, that the development would have a detrimental effect on the historic nature of the hill, which conceals abandoned mine workings.
“What you get on the top of the hill is a sense and atmosphere of history,” he said. “The overall impression is of this strange hummocked landscape, and your imagination is drawn to what it would have looked like in the days of the mines.
“The landscape is somewhat marred by the pylons and factories, but just about retains its character. This would push it over the edge. The turbines would be monumental structures.
Mr Summerhayes said the turbines, which would be partially visible from Carsington village, would affect the character of the historic settlement.
“I think the movement of the blades will draw your eye and you will have the sense of something looming above you constantly,” he said.
The inquiry also heard from the chairman of Carsington Bird Club, Peter Gibbon, who said the thousands of birds which flock to Carsington Water would be put at risk by the wind farm.
“When it was built 16 years ago, a lot of people said the reservoir would not have that much effect on birds,” said Mr Gibbon. “Since then it has become locally and nationally important. The only albatross seen in mainland Britain was seen there. It has become a honeypot not just for human beings but for birds.
“At times you can have up to 10,000 birds roosting overnight and a fair proportion of them do go through the turbine route.”
The inquiry heard earlier in the week from the Protect Carsington and Hopton Action Group, set up by local residents to fight the wind farm proposals.
The planning inspector chairing the inquiry, Robin Brooks, heard how 1,682 people had voiced their opposition to the scheme, either by signing a petition, or writing or emailing their objections, with 88 per cent of opponents coming from outside the immediately affected area.
The inquiry continued this week with the inspector due to hear summing up from the lawyers for CWEL and Derbyshire Dales District Council, which turned down the original planning application last year.
The inquiry, held at Matlock Town Hall, is due to end on Friday. A judgement will be made by the inspector before a final decision on the scheme is made by the secretary of state for communities and local government.
By Tim Fltcher
9 July 2008