September 2, 2010

Plan for three new wind turbines at Chelker

Ilkley Gazette, 2 September 2010

A protest group set up to oppose new wind turbines at Chelker Reservoir near Draughton has promised to put forward a “robust response” to the latest plans.

Kelda Water Services – sister company to Yorkshire Water – announced two weeks ago that it wanted to erect three 80-metre turbines to replace the existing four, which stand at 45 metres.

The scheme is expected to cost more than £5m.

A previous application for two 125m turbines was turned down by Craven District Council last year 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 Dales national park.

The plans were opposed by a specially formed protest group, Parishioners Against Chelker Turbines (Pact), which has now reconvened.

Chairman Peter Rigby said: “Yorkshire Water has requested a private meeting with Pact to tell us their plans in more detail. We have agreed to meet with them and will be asking very detailed questions.

“Pact is not against renewable energy but will not support any wind scheme in Craven that affects residents’ lives. Furthermore visitors do not come to Craven to see industrial blight. Tourism is Craven’s main income into the economy.

“Pact has 400 signed-up members. We have now reassembled the original team and will be making a robust response to the new plans along with local and national organisations.”

KWS has promised to consult local people before submitting its application.

It has already written to 752 property owners in the area and is planning to hold public exhibitions and meetings shortly.

Mark Fox, of Kelda Water, said: “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 layout.”

Draughton Parish Council is organising a special meeting in the village hall next Thursday, September 9, at 7.30pm for a preliminary discussion of the new plans, which are expected to be submitted in the autumn.

Meanwhile KWS 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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