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Giant Leeds wind farm gets green belt go-ahead

A controversial plan for a wind farm on green belt land outside Leeds has been given the go-ahead

A Government inspector has overturned a Leeds City Council decision to reject the proposal.

The inspector ruled in favour of developers Banks Renewables, part of the Durham-based Banks mining and energy group, giving them permission to build five 260-feet high wind turbines at Hooks Moor Farm, next to the M1-A1 link near Micklefield to the east of Leeds. Taking the height of the blades into account the turbines will top 390 feet.

Local residents formed the Hook Moor Wind Farm Action Group which campaigned against the plan, and there were objections from the Ramblers’ Association and the Open Spaces Society.

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Banks appealed against the council’s decision and lost. The appeal decision was overturned in the High Court. The issue was then taken to a public inquiry.

Government Inspector Philip Major headed the inquiry on behalf of the Government’s Environment and Communities Departments in Leeds Civic Hall in November.

Banks says the turbines will create enough energy for more than 8,000 homes without producing environmentally-damaging greenhouse gases.

In his written ruling, the Inspector said: “The appeal is allowed and planning permission is granted for the erection of five wind turbines, improvements to highway access, underground cabling, access tracks, control building, temporary wind monitoring mast 80m high, temporary construction compound and associated development on land at Hook Moor, Micklefield, Leeds, West Yorkshire in accordance with the terms of the application.”

Among conditions imposed with the ruling is a 25-year lifespan for the turbines.

Campaigners expressed “extreme disappointment” with the decision.

Carolyn Walker, of the Hooks Moor Wind Farm Action Group, said: “My instinctive reaction is to say that it is extremely disappointing that the views and considerations of local people are not taken into account.”