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Public gets chance to quiz speakers at Wind Farms – Blight or Bounty debate

An anti-wind farm activist and a supporter of green energy will lock horns in public debate at a village close to the proposed site of two 80-metre-high wind turbines.

Gargrave wind farm objector Chris Emmett, a central opposition figure in the Brightenber Hill wind farm battle, will go head to head with Michael Baldwin, of Wharfedale Friends of the Earth, at Addingham Memorial Hall next Saturday, September 24, from 8pm.

The showdown – dubbed Wind Farms – Blight or Bounty, will give the public a chance to quiz both speakers.

Mr Baldwin, who publicly called for “less spin” and more substantial debate over wind turbine plans for Wharfedale earlier this year, accepted a challenge to meet Mr Emmett in a debate.

Opposition has been strong in Addingham, as well as nearby Draughton, to plans by Yorkshire Water sister company Kelda Water Services (KWS) to replace ageing turbines at Chelker Reservoir with larger structures.

KWS withdrew a planning application for three 80-metre turbines following opposition, but recently held consultations about siting two 80-metre turbines on the site. Mr Emmett, of Gargrave, issued his challenge to Wharfedale Friends of the Earth after reading Mr Baldwin’s comments in the Craven Herald.

He said he agreed with the Friends’ calls for a full debate dispelling some of the myths surrounding the issue of wind energy. But, he argues, most of these myths are “driven by profit-hungry wind farm developers”.

Wharfedale Friends of the Earth has spoken out in favour of improved turbines at Chelker. The group supports wind power as part of a mix of renewable energy technologies to help tackle climate change.

Mr Emmett was a key figure in the campaign against plans by wind turbines company EnergieKontor (UK) at Brightenber Hill, West Marton. The scheme was rejected by a planning inspector at an appeal last year.