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Anger over growth in number of wind turbine applications

A row has broken out over the number of wind turbine applications across the Bradford district.

Applications were at an all time high of 16 last year compared to 13 the previous year and 11 in 2009.

The proposals include a mix of 15-metre domestic installations, scoping reports for planned installations and applications for larger turbines up to 76-metres high.

A further two turbines have already been proposed in the district this year, including an application for a scoping report for an 85-metre high turbine at Graincliffe Reservoir near High Eldwick, submitted by Kelda Water Services, and plans for a domestic turbine in Ridge Lane, Silsden.

Objectors say turbines are inefficient, blight the landscape and rely heavily on subsidies. But supporters argue Bradford must embrace all forms of renewable energy.

Shipley MP Philip Davies said: “People who live close by one can see they are a tremendous blight on the landscape. For everybody else they are an extremely inefficient and uneconomic way of generating electricity.

“On every possible level these things are appalling.”

Sarah Wills, senior planning officer for Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) Yorkshire and Humber, said: “CPRE support and understand the need for renewable energy development but believe they need to be appropriately sited and should not compromise the beauty and tranquillity of the countryside.”

She called for a strategic plan for the development of all renewable energy in the region.

Bradford Council has identified Thornton and Queensbury as suitable for renewable energy generation in its draft Core Strategy Development Plan Document. In particular, the authority has earmarked the Denholme and Queensbury area for wind energy.

Among the applications for wind turbines in the area is a proposal by developer Banks Renewables to install up to four wind turbines on Thornton Moor with the potential to produce electricity for around 4,400 homes.

Anthea Orchard, of Denholme Gate, who formed Thornton Moor Wind Farm Action Group to oppose the plans, said: “Unfortunately people are going to have to get used to these applications coming in thicker and faster. If the Core Strategy is approved in its current state the development will be off the scale.”

Wind turbine applications in the district increased from five in 2007 to 14 in 2008 – the same year The Energy Act was given Royal Assent. The Act strengthened the Government’s commitment to increase the diversity of the UK’s electricity supply and lower carbon emissions from the electricity sector.