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Opposition growing to wind farm near West Heslerton  

Credit:  Gazette & Herald, www.gazetteherald.co.uk 1 June 2011 ~~

Opposition is mounting to the controversial plan to site a 10-turbine wind farm near West Heslerton.

The British Horse Society (BHS) and Natural England, the Government’s conservation agency, have added their protests already made by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), English Heritage and the Council to Protect Rural England (CPRE) to the plan by RWE npower renewables to build the wind farm at Ling Hall Farm.

The company says the turbines will be 126 metres high to the tip of the blade and potentially supply 14,500 homes with electricity.

But 24 parish councils in the area are opposing the scheme, and the BHS, the latest protester, said that if it goes ahead “It would only be a matter of time before a rider, especially riders of young horses, had an accident on he adjoining road or bridleway as a consequence of the turbines”.

Deborah Hall, lead adviser on land use operations for Natural England, told Ryedale District Council, which will decide the planning application later this summer, that there is a reasonable likelihood of legally protected species being present and adversly affecting by the development.

She said: “Our concerns relate specifically to the likely impact on bats, great crested newts and birds.”

The MoD says it fears interference from the wind farm could affect radar systems at nearby RAF Staxton Wold and RAF Linton-on-Ouse and has asked for the scheme to be turned down.

MoD’s spokesman Richard Maisey said: “The turbines will cause unaccepable interference to the radar at RAF Linton-on-Ouse. Wind turbines have been shown to have detrimental effects on the performance of ministry ATC and Range Control radars. These effects include the desensitisation of radar in the vicinity of the turbines, and the creation of ‘false’ aircraft returns which air traffic controllers must treat as real.”

Mr Maisey, the safeguarding assistant at the Defence Infrastructure Organisation, added that the turbines would also interfere with the radar at RAF Staxton Wold. “The probability of the radar detecting aircraft flying over or in the vicinity of the turbines would be reduced,” he added.

English Heritage said the site earmarked for the wind farm has significant archaeological remains which could be damaged by the development.

The CPRE has already asked for the application to be called in by the Government to enable the decision to be made by the Secretary of State for the Environment, Caroline Spelman.

Martin Wood, developer for RWE npower renewables, said that the scheme was supported by 75 per cent of local people who responded at a public exhibition held last August. He said: “Using clean, renewable energy sources like the wind, to generate electricity is a key component of the UK climate change programme. Investing in renewable technology is a long-term commitment and is part of the solution to securing our future energy needs.”

Source:  Gazette & Herald, www.gazetteherald.co.uk 1 June 2011

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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