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Rail watchdog in wind farm probe

Rail regulators have agreed to look at controversial proposals to build wind turbines near a landmark lighthouse in East Yorkshire, after campaigners claimed they would pose a danger to a nearby railway line.

Villagers in Bempton, East Yorkshire, have launched a campaign against the erection of two giant turbines which, at 24m (78ft), would be just one metre (3.28ft) lower than the famous Flamborough Lighthouse, which is three miles away.

The group has written to the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) following a spate of incidents in West Yorkshire in which wind turbine blades came off during recent gales.

In a separate development, Tory Dewsbury MP Simon Reevell on Monday called for a halt to all turbine building in the wake of the reported damage caused to three turbines near Huddersfield last week. This damage follows another incident in the Huddersfield area last year which saw a turbine collapse.

Bempton resident David Hinde said the incidents in Huddersfield showed the danger the structures proposed for his village posed as one would be just 50m (164ft) from the Bridlington to Scarborough line.

He said: “We’ve seen these turbines can come down and this is just so close to the track. It is a clear danger to the railway – to trains and passengers.”

Mr Hinde said the proposal to site turbines in the Flamborough Heritage Coast Landscape Protection Area and just 180m (590ft) from homes was unacceptable, irrespective of the location near the railway line.

Mr Hinde said: “People come here because it is a special place. It is unspoilt. They come because there are no industrial structures and now they are planning to build these.”

On Monday, a spokesman for the ORR said an ORR inspector is currently examining the proposal to ensure railway safety is not compromised. The agent for the landowners, Myriad CEG, told the East Riding Mail the site had been chosen carefully to “to ensure it can be absorbed by the local landscape and is inconspicuous in the landscape from most viewpoints”.

The firm told the paper: “The design, scale, form and appearance has been selected to ensure that the construction and operation on the proposed site will not be intrusive on the landscape, and are far outweighed by the economic, social and environmental benefits.”