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Wind turbines win approval

Final approval has been given to controversial plans for a wind farm on the outskirts of Rotherham – despite more than 2,000 objections from the public through letters and petitions.

The development featuring six new turbines 132 metres tall – 433 feet – will be built at Penny Hill near Ulley, near the junction of the M1 and M18 motorways.

Rotherham Council granted planning permission for the scheme in May, but had to refer the application to Whitehall for approval.

The council has now heard the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has decided not to “call in” the decision for scrutiny – which means the project can now go ahead after being given formal consent later this week.

The original planning application sparked almost 500 letters of objection, while a protest petition contained 1,792 signatures.

The petition argued the turbines would have an unacceptable effect on the green belt landscape, would devalue local properties, have a detrimental effect on wildlife in the area and affect people’s health.

Other campaigners said the wind farm could be a safety hazard as the turbines could distract drivers on the motorways.

But more than 1,000 people registered support for the farm, which will generate electricity for the equivalent of about a tenth of Rotherham’s homes.

Each year the turbines are expected to produce between 31,000 and 45,700 megawatt hours of electricity, and save between 333,250 and 491,275 tonnes in carbon dioxide emissions over a 25-year lifespan.

The farm will be built by Banks Developments and the company’s managing director, Phil Dyke, hailed the Government’s decision good news.

He said: “The first annual energy statement released by the Government last week clearly highlighted the need to place greater emphasis on generating power from renewable sources, and the Penny Hill scheme will be an excellent example of how this can be achieved.”

Rotherham planners say the benefits of the turbines will outweigh their visual impact on the surrounding landscape because of its open, large scale nature, and will also not affect motorists.