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Chelker Reservoir turbines scheme rejected  

Credit:  Craven Herald & Pioneer, www.cravenherald.co.uk 16 February 2012 ~~

Kelda Water has been urged to remove its “rotting tooth stump” wind turbines from Chelker Reservoir, Addingham.

On Monday, the company had its application refused to replace the existing mainly defunct four turbines with two new ones twice the height.

Craven District Council’s planning committee unanimously refused permission for the 75m-high turbines because of the impact on ancient monuments and landscape painted by JMW Turner and written about by John Ruskin.

They also objected on the grounds of the larger impact on the countryside – despite being urged by Kelda Water (part of Yorkshire Water) to be brave and support renewable energy.

And councillors called for officers to come back to a future meeting outlining how the council could force the removal of the existing turbines.

Kelda Water’s Richard Sears told councillors turbines had been a well-established feature at the site for 16 years.

“Approving our application would demonstrate real courage and real leadership. It is an opportunity to show what a progressive council Craven District Council is – just like its predecessors did back in july 1996 when wind technology was in its infancy,” he said.

But councillors were told that Bolton Abbey, a scheduled ancient monument, containing the Grade I-listed Priory, Grade I-listed Farfield Hall at Addingham and other listed buildings would have their settings harmed by the intrusive sight of the turbines.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park, Beamsley Parish Meeting and Draughton Parish Councils all objected to the scheme and English Heritage had felt so strongly that it wanted a referral to the Secretary of State if the scheme was approved.

Peter Rigby, from the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), described the existing turbines as an “industrial graveyard” and “rotting tooth stumps” that could clearly be seen from various points from the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Ward councillor, council leader, Coun Chris Knowles-Fitton (Cons) said it was not the case that new turbines should be allowed just because of the old ones.

He said it had been the case that permission had originally been given by the council when wind energy was in its infancy and there had been a willingness to let it prove itself.

But the new turbines would have a serious impact on the lives of residents of Berwick.

Coun Paul English (Lib Dem) said even though he was a supporter of renewable energy, he could not back the Chelker scheme because of the impact on the landscape.

Coun Robert Heseltine (Ind) urged officers to look into how the council could legally force the removal of the existing turbines. He said with hindsight, the original decision to approve the turbines had been a “mammoth mistake”.

After the meeting, CPRE’s Mr Rigby welcomed the decision. “This was a very good day for Craven’s residents, their magnificent landscape and their heritage. Kelda should now pull the plug on any further development of this sensitive site and return the land to agriculture.”

Source:  Craven Herald & Pioneer, www.cravenherald.co.uk 16 February 2012

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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