Controversial plans to install wind turbines almost double the height of their predecessors on the Bolton Abbey estate have come under fire from the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority.
Kelda Water Services wants to upgrade the site at Chelker Reservoir above Addingham, near Ilkley, by replacing the existing four 41.5-metre (136ft) tall wind turbines with three new turbines with a maximum tip height of 80 metres (262ft).
The company says only one of the existing turbines is operating effectively and that the scheme is necessary and will help to meet renewable energy targets – but it has been met with strong opposition from residents near the site.
Now planners at Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) have also objected to the application for planning permission which will eventually be determined by Craven Council.
Members of the park authority’s planning committee will be recommended to advise the council that the authority objects to the proposal when they meet on Tuesday.
A report from Katherine Wood, senior planning officer at YDNPA, which will be considered by the committee, says: “The impact on both the landscape of the southern part of Wharfedale and on the setting of Bolton Abbey would be significant, with views from these areas channelled towards the site of the turbines by the topography of the valley.
“The height of the turbines and the proximity to the boundary would result in very dominating features within the landscape. The detrimental impact on the setting of the abbey ruins at Bolton Abbey will be significant given the high sensitivity of this area to change and the wider implications on the nation’s cultural heritage.”
An equally controversial bid to build two 125 metre (410ft) high turbines at the site, which is about one-and-a-half miles from Bolton Abbey, was refused planning permission by Craven Council in 2009.
According to the report on the latest application, the two main effects of the wind farm on the national park are the impact on the wider landscape of Wharfedale and the impact on Bolton Abbey and, specifically, the setting of the Scheduled Ancient Monument of the abbey ruins.
The report says: “As can be seen from the applicant’s environmental statement, the majority of viewpoints chosen within the national park will be affected with a negative impact as a result of the new turbines. In many cases this will be a moderate adverse impact.
“Furthermore, the national park landscape will not absorb significant intrusions without damaging the quality and enjoyment of the national park landscape, in a particularly heavily used area of the national park. As such, the turbines will significantly conflict with national park purposes.”
Kelda Water Services spokesman Mark Fox said: “We are planning for the future. This is an important scheme. It will help Yorkshire Water customers. It will help the council meet its renewable energy targets. We have conducted a very exhaustive study on how the turbines would appear on the local landscape.
“We believe these proposals are good proposals, they are responsible proposals. We have consulted the area around Chelker. We believe that public consultation was wide-ranging and the feedback from that consultation was generally positive.
“The existing four turbines were some of the first in the country – they are very much museum pieces, they have been there since 1991. Because of that it is impossible to find spare parts. They are essentially obsolete and renewing them is the only option to ensure we continue to generate renewable power.”
The application also includes associated foundations, crane hardstandings and substations plus improvements to and new sections of the access track and widening of access from the A65 at Chelker Reservoir, Skipton Road, Addingham, Ilkley.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding