With its wild and windswept beauty, it was the perfect setting for Wuthering Heights’ story of doomed romance.
‘Make the moors never change and you and I never change,’ Cathy begs Heathcliff in a declaration of love for both him and the untamed landscape against which their passion is played out in Emily Brontë’s novel.
Now furious campaigners are echoing her cry for preservation with equal fervour as they battle plans to place four 328ft high turbines right next to a hugely popular tourist trail through the rugged moor which so inspired Emily.
The £12million scheme by private green energy firm Banks Renewables would see two turbines flanking each side of the Brontë Way on a stretch of the 43-mile footpath at Thornton Moor.
This is less than five miles from Howarth, the town in West Yorkshire where Emily, her literary sisters Charlotte and Anne and their brother Branwell lived.
The siblings all enjoyed the moor’s breathtaking views during their walks from the parsonage where they lived – and which is now a museum to them.
Sally McDonald, chairman of the Brontë Society which maintains the museum, has condemned the proposed wind farm as ‘skyline pollution in an area of international historical interest’.
She added: ‘These moors should continue undisturbed for generations to come and for the swathes of visitors from the UK and overseas drawn to Haworth and Yorkshire by their interest in the lives and works of the Brontës.
‘The moorland hugely influenced the writing of all three sisters. Wuthering Heights was set in and around that area.’ She said the turbines would have a ‘huge visual impact’.
Councillors are due to vote on an application to install a data-gathering mast next week and objectors fear the full scheme could go to the planning committee by September and be built within 12 months.
Campaigners are also concerned that the wind farm will be less than 700 yards from the nearest homes in the tiny rural settlement of Denholme Gate, where 223 people, nearly all the residents, have signed a protest petition.
Mother-of-two Anthea Orchard, 34, chairman of the Thornton Moor Wind Farm Action Group, said: The damage to the landscape is going to be irreparable. It is behind a smoke screen of renewable energy.
‘We are also concerned about the impact on wildlife because of how close it is to the South Pennines Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Phil Dyke, of Banks Renewables, said the proposed scheme would produce enough electricity a year for up to 4,500 homes. ‘Developing sustainable, low-carbon energy is vital to all our futures,’ he added.
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