May 23, 2011

Opponents welcome move to delay wind farm scheme

Yorkshire Post, 21 May 2011

Campaigners have welcomed a decision by developers to delay controversial plans for a multi-million pound wind farm on the outskirts of York amid concerns over the impact the development could have on the environment.

The green energy firm Banks Renewables, which is behind the proposals for the scheme at Copmanthorpe confirmed yesterday that it had decided to revise the project’s timescale after York Council called for detailed environmental studies to be carried out.

Council officials have requested further information to ensure that the development would not impinge on the habitats of wildlife, including bats.

A full planning application for the wind farm had initially been due to be submitted to York Council by the end of the year, although the process has now been delayed by 12 months.

The Copmanthorpe Wind Farm Action Group’s secretary, Alan Davidson, claimed more than 600 objections had now been submitted to the council to the plans, and added: “There is clearly very strong opposition to the proposals. The decision to delay submitting the planning application will give us more time to draw up our plans to represent the public’s opposition to the proposed wind farm.”

The development would see up to five 475ft turbines, each costing £2.5m, built on land owned by Askham Bryan College to generate enough electricity each year to power about 8,300 homes. The scheme would see a partnership evolved with the college to train students who are planning to embark on careers in the burgeoning wind farm industry.

An initial report on the project has been submitted by Banks Renewables to York Council, along with a planning application for a wind monitoring mast which is due to be considered by councillors during the summer.

The Banks Group’s environment and community director, Mark Dowdall, confirmed that the time- scale has had to be revised, but maintained that the move was a precautionary measure.

He added: “The new time-frame set out by Banks is not due to any new environmental factors. It is simply a decision taken by the company to give more time to complete the necessary surveys.”

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