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Bats could help critics of wind power put stop to turbine plans  

Credit:  By Joanne Ginely, Yorkshire Post, www.yorkshirepost.co.uk 14 December 2010 ~~

More than a thousand letters have been received objecting to plans to build two wind turbines in Grange Moor, Huddersfield, claiming they would be too close to a school and homes and would ruin the skyline of a scenic rural area.

Councillors are being urged to throw out the plans when they meet later this week because officers say insufficient information has been provided to satisfy them that there will be no impact on the local bat habitat.

They also fear that the turbines will be noisy and too close to a public footpath.

Members of Kirklees Council’s heavy woollen area planning committee meet on Thursday to discuss the proposals.

A report to the committee says: “The proposal is recommended for refusal due to its harmful effect on the residential amenity of nearby properties due to noise, harm to biodiversity, harm to the safety of users of the public footpath.”

It adds: “It is inescapable that the proposal will have some visual impact in the surrounding area.”

Mitie Asset Management Ltd wants to build two wind turbines up to 47.5 metres high on the green belt site.

The firm says they will provide a renewable energy source that will feed into the local grid.

Councillors will be told the firm says that the development is suitable for the green belt as there are only a small number of turbines and adds that wind turbines need to be located in areas which have suitable wind speeds.

Consequently sites in the green belt need to be considered, they say

More than a thousand letters of objection have been received and concerns have been raised by local councillors and the Open Spaces Society. Two letters of support have also been received.

Dewsbury’s Conservative MP Simon Reevell, supports fears that the turbines are too close to homes, will impact on the quality of life, are close to a right of way, will be a noise disturbance and provide a “visual intrusion.”

Kirkburton Parish Council says it supports the proposal in principle but has concerns about the proximity to homes, while the Open Spaces Society says the impact of the turbines on a public right of way must be considered.

Objectors also claim the turbines would damage wildlife and the health of bats and birds in flight would be harmed. They say they are too close to a school and children’s play area, will spoil the open character of the area and would harm the setting of a public footpath through the site.

Letters received in support of the application, at a site off Grange Ash Farm, Grange Moor, say it represents an efficient use of energy and alternative forms of energy are necessary and should be welcomed.

The report to members adds: “The surrounding landscape character around Grange Moor and the proposed turbine location site can be described as rolling wooded farmland, containing a mixture of medium scale agricultural fields, scattered mature woodland, small village settlements and farmsteads.

“The rolling nature of the gently domed landscape and medium to large field patterns render this area moderately sensitive to constructions within it similar to the scale of the proposed turbines.

“To the west of the proposed area of the development there are residential properties with the village of Grange Moor that may be affected.”

Officers estimate that the nearest home is 250 metres away from the proposed wind turbines – but this is beyond the recommended distance.

In the report officers say that they also wish to see more information about the local bat population and how this will be affected.

Councillors will be told the firm has submitted a noise report which concludes that noise levels would be acceptable and argues that Grange Moor does not have “extensive tourist attractions or facilities” which would be harmed by the proposals.

Source:  By Joanne Ginely, Yorkshire Post, www.yorkshirepost.co.uk 14 December 2010

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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