Campaigners have vowed to get the Yorkshire Wolds officially protected to prevent wind farms being built after scoring an initial success against a controversial development.
Plans to build as many as 14 turbines 475ft high on agricultural land close to Hunmanby, near Filey, have sparked a public outcry.
But proposals to install a 260ft monitoring mast, which would have helped developers from Banks Renewables select the most suitable site for the wind farm, were blocked by Scarborough Borough Council’s planning committee.
The No To Wolds Wind Farm Group has pledged to hold talks with organisations, such as the Campaign to Protect Rural England, to try to get the landscape designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The action group’s chairwoman, Michelle Donohue-Moncrieff, said: “We are very pleased with the planning decision, but we appreciate that there could still be a lengthy battle ahead.
“We will have talks with the relevant bodies in the hope of getting the Wolds officially recognised to prevent the future threat of wind farms here.”
Planning officers had recommended that the application should be approved – although they stressed the monitoring mast needed to be considered separately from the proposed wind farm.
But members of Scarborough Borough Council’s planning committee opted to refuse the application for the monitoring mast when they met on Thursday.
The No To Wolds Wind Farm Group had sought reassurances that the monitoring mast would not be simply part of an “exercise of ticking boxes” before an actual planning application was submitted for the turbines.
The development director at Banks Renewables, Phil Dyke, said the firm was “very disappointed” by the council’s verdict.
He added: “We will now await confirmation of the exact reasons for this decision before deciding on our next steps.”
A full planning application for the multi-million pound wind farm had been due to be submitted to Scarborough Borough Council by the end of the year.
If permission had been secured, Banks Renewables was hoping that the wind farm would be operational by 2013.
The Yorkshire Post revealed last week that the Government had been urged to clarify the massive subsidies which consumers are paying to finance onshore wind farms, amid growing scepticism over the technology.
The Thirsk and Malton MP Anne McIntosh has written to Energy Minister Charles Hendry calling on him to inform consumers about the millions of pounds in subsidies used to help finance renewable energy technologies such as wind farms.
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