New plans for replacement wind turbines at Chelker Reservoir, near Addingham, have been condemned by nearby residents.
They claim Kelda Water Services’ proposals for three 80m turbines are no better than the plans that were turned down by Craven District Council last year.
Then, the application was to erect two 125m turbines, but it was rejected on the grounds that it would have an adverse impact on the landscape and residential amenity of the area, and would detract from the recreational experience of visitors to the nearby Yorkshire Dales National Park.
Residents also objected, saying the powerful turbines were too close to their homes.
The new proposals have failed to win them over.
“The turbines are still too close to our homes and could pose a real danger,” said Vanessa Leigh, who lives in the shadow of the turbines at East Berwick, Draughton.
Her mother-in-law, Catherine Leigh, who has lived at the nearby farm for 23 years, said the closest turbine would be within 350 metres of her property and all three would be within 800 metres.
“These turbines are way, way too close,” she said. “We are concerned about the noise and the visual impact. The turbines will control how we live our lives. It will be severely detrimental.”
Plans for five wind turbines on Brightenber Hill, near Gargrave, were dismissed on appeal earlier this year because of their close proximity to a farm.
Craven district councillor Robert Heseltine, who opposed the previous Chelker plans, said he was disappointed Kelda was still proposing to erect wind turbines in such close proximity to residential properties.
“I recognise that renewable energy has a place and that place is substantial wind farms offshore. In areas of high landscape value and close to residential properties, it seems an insult.”
However, he said he would keep an open mind until he had inspected the new application and heard the arguments.
Protest group Parishioners Against Chelker Turbines (PACT) has been invited to a private meeting with Yorkshire Water.
The Chelker site currently has four 45m turbines, which are operated by KWS’s sister company Yorkshire Water and help to power pumping stations at Chelker and Lobwood. It says the new turbines would produce enough electricity to power 1,600 homes and save almost 3,000 tonnes of CO2 a year from being emitted into the atmosphere.
Mark Fox, of Kelda Water, said: “Our latest plans for Chelker represent an opportunity to use a site which, in the past, provided for our on-site energy needs.
“Should Craven District Council give our proposals the thumbs-up it would reduce considerably our reliance on other non-renewable energy sources.
“We are fully aware of Chelker’s location within a sensitive location and will ensure that the impact on the landscape is fully taken into account when designing the turbine lay-out.”
The company has already written to 752 local properties regarding its proposals and is planning to hold public exhibitions and meetings after the summer holiday. The plans are expected to be submitted in the autumn.
Meanwhile Kelda Water is seeking permission to erect a 36m noise mast near the existing turbines. It will be used to monitor background noise levels and the findings will form part of the environmental impact assessment, which will accompany the main application.
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