Campaigners have raised a staggering £65,000 to fund a David and Goliath battle against two wind farms on their doorstep.
One of East Yorkshire’s smallest villages has raised the huge fighting fund to take on the might of the wind farm companies at a public inquiry next week.
Donations have poured in to help residents of Spaldington, near Howden, save their village from being sandwiched between 12 massive 126-metre high turbines.
Most of money has been raised in the village, which has a population of about 150, with some residents digging deep to stump up four figure sums.
It is being used by campaign group Spaldington Turbine Opposition Protest (STOP) to hire top legal and environmental experts to help them to fight their case.
Villagers were forced to step up their fight after the wind farm businesses, Falck and Volkswind, appealed against East Riding Council’s refusal of planning permission for the controversial developments.
They set a target of £75,000 – representing £500 for every resident – to cover the fighting fund, and are hopeful of raising the remaining £10,000.
Resident Paul Taylor, STOP chairman, said: “Raising so much money in such a small time has been a phenomenal effort for a small village.
“We have held fundraising activities, like a coffee morning and scrap metal collection, but the bulk of the money has come from residents’ savings.
“People want to keep it personal about how much money they have put into the fighting fund, but several have given four figure sums.
“The majority of people have been brilliant, digging deep into their own pockets, because they feel so threatened by the proposed wind farms.”
German business Volkswind wants permission for seven turbines at Spaldington Common, and energy company Falck Renewables wants to build five at the former Spaldington airfield.
STOP will be represented by barrister Tina Douglas, who has fought and won wind farm planning appeals for objectors in other parts of the country.
As well as a planning consultant, STOP’s team will include a landscape expert because it is claimed the turbines will spoil magnificent views of the East Yorkshire countryside.
Mr Taylor said: “People coming into the area over the M62 Ouse Bridge get wonderful views of Howden Minster and the Vale of York.
“It is a fantastic vista that gives people a marvellous first impression of East Yorkshire, but that would be ruined by a backdrop of towering wind turbines.
“People are also defending these views by donating to the fighting fund, which we hope will top £75,000 to see us through the inquiry.”
He added: “The turbines would be too big and too close to too many homes, and would destroy our lovely village.”
East Riding Council will have to mitigate its decision to throw out the two schemes when the three-week inquiry gets underway at the council officers in Church Street, Goole on Tuesday.
If given the go-ahead, the two wind farms will be either side of the village, with more than 50 homes 1,000 metres away from the nearest turbine, 18 just 640 metres away and nine 550 metres or less.
Ward councillor Paul Robinson, who moved refusal of planning permission, said: “To site turbines this close to people’s homes is utter madness.
“I don’t think anyone anticipated the strength of feeling against these plans, or the lengths that the people of Spaldington would go to in order to save their village.
“It is staggering that STOP has managed to raise more than £65,000 towards their £75,000 target to fund the cost of hiring nationally acclaimed experts to represent the village at the inquiry.”
STOP member Heather Burton added: “We are also fighting for other communities who will face exactly the same battle if wind farm developers continue to ride rough-shod over the people and environment they are claiming to benefit.
“There is a growing realisation that wind farms are nowhere near as efficient as we were led to believe – it’s more about corporate greed than saving the planet and at what cost to local communities and their environment.”
A Volkswind spokesman said their scheme would provide clean renewable energy for more than 9,000 homes and save 18,194 tonnes of harmful greenhouse gas a year.
Falck said tests had shown it was an ideal site for a wind farm to meet green energy targets.
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