Plans for a mast designed to help an energy company decide whether to set up a controversial wind farm on the edge of York are about to come under the spotlight.
Banks Renewables has applied for permission to install a 70-metre structure on farmland at Copmanthorpe, which would be used to measure wind speed as the firm considers building turbines at the site.
The application is set to go before City of York Council’s west and city centre area planning sub-committee next week and has been recommended for approval by officers.
But local residents plan to oppose the proposals and stage a “peaceful” protest ahead of the decision.
Banks has said the Hagg Wood project would provide enough power for 8,300 homes and create about 30 construction jobs. It had originally intended to lodge a full planning application for the wind farm by the end of this year, but is now more likely to wait until the end of 2012.
Part of the reason for the delay is the potential impact of any scheme on bats and other wildlife, with the turbines expected to be up to 475ft high.
However, the firm still plans to install a mast between Colton Lane and Low Westfield Road, and in a report which will go before next week’s meeting, the council’s development management officer Victoria Bell said: “The proposed mast will not, by virtue of its slender design, have an adverse visual impact in the area.
“The mast is to collect wind speed data for a potential application for wind turbines on the site and to achieve finance for a potential wind farm. The data collected would be used in a noise assessment to be submitted with a potential future application.
“In addition, it would assist in the design and selection of potential wind turbines on the site.”
The wind mast proposal has met with objections from York Racecourse, whose management have suggested it could cause problems for helicopters arriving at and leaving meetings at the Knavesmire, while York Outer MP Julian Sturdy has described it as “an unacceptable intrusion into the Green Belt”.
In total, 595 letters of objection have been received, with York Civic Trust among those opposing the wind farm scheme.
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