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Rev Geoff Mumford at centre of Copmanthorpe wind farm storm

Angry villagers will tonight call for Copmanthorpe’s vicar to resign from the parish council after he backed controversial plans for massive wind turbines.

The Rev Geoff Mumford, who is called the Green Dean of New Ainsty Deanery by the diocese, pledged his full support for the 145-metre turbines in an email to the principal of Askham Bryan College, Liz Philip.

Documents obtained from the college under the Freedom of Information Act by a villager, and passed to The Press, show that the vicar said: “The Diocese of York has designated 2011 as the Year of the Environment with the intention of celebrating what is happening already as well as what we could be doing to look after the environment for future generations….

“As a resident of Copmanthorpe, I am well aware of the college’s plans for wind turbines. Please be assured that I support the scheme fully.”

The principal, whose college will benefit from rental payments if the scheme goes ahead, was prompted by his message of support to declare: “We have God on our side.”

Some local wind farm opponents now plan to call for the vicar’s resignation as a parish councillor at a meeting tonight.

Mike Fedyszyn, of Homefield Close, said the vicar had publicly expressed his support only days after villagers became aware of the proposals. “They had had no chance to discuss the proposals with him or any of the other parish councillors.”

But the vicar said he would not be resigning and claimed he was not the only parish councillor to have expressed personal views about the wind farm proposals. “I am very disappointed that some people do not appear to be open to other people’s viewpoints,” he said, adding he would fully support whatever decision was eventually taken by the parish.

A college spokeswoman said the college believed the vicar to be dedicated and hard working, and had the interests of the whole community at heart. She said his support was in accordance with long standing and openly held views of supporting green energy.

• City of York Council says public interest in a planning sub-committee’s discussions of plans for a 70-metre windspeed testing mast at Copmanthorpe on Thursday is so great that a ticketed entry system will be used. Tickets will be available from the Guildhall from 2pm.