A developer has been given the go-ahead to build the first stage of its controversial Aberford-based wind farm.
Leeds city councillors voted last September to reject an application by Banks Developments for permission to put up a 60-metre ‘monitoring mast’ on green belt land at Hook Moor, alongside the A1 at Aberford.
But Durham-based Banks subsequently lodged an appeal against that decision with the Government’s Planning Inspectorate.
The inspectorate allowed the appeal this week – despite nearby residents expressing grave concerns over what a windfarm could do to the “character and appearance of the rural landscape”.
The planning inspector dealing with the case ruled that the potential environmental benefits of the scheme “clearly outweighed” the impact it might have on the landscape.
But news has been greeted with dismay by the Hook Moor Wind Farm Action Group, which is spearheading opposition to Banks’s plans.
Group spokeswoman Carolyn Walker said: “We’re disappointed but the decision has not lessened our determination to keep on fighting.”
Banks is now hoping to have its test mast in place by the end of August. The firm will use data from the temporary mast to fine-tune plans for a full-scale wind farm at Hook Moor.
If the full-scale plans are given approval later this year, then five propeller-style turbines, each reaching a height of 125 metres (410 feet) will be built.
Banks says they would generate enough energy for more than 8,000 homes without the production of environmentally-damaging greenhouse gases.
17 July 2008
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