Proposals for a controversial wind farm on moorland in Bronte country have received coverage around the world after first being reported in the Telegraph & Argus.
Bradford Council last week granted developers Banks Renewables permission to build a 200ft wind monitoring mast on Thornton Moor near Denholme, where the company hopes to eventually build four 330ft turbines.
The proposed turbines, which Banks says will produce enough electricity to power 4,400 homes, have been fiercely opposed by members of Thornton Moor Wind Farm Action Group, which claims they will have a “devastating” effect on the surrounding countryside.
Chairman Anthea Orchard, who was yesterday interviewed for French television channel France 2, said the group’s website had temporarily crashed due to a huge surge in visits.
Almost 200 people from as far as Australia, America, Italy and Spain had signed an online petition accessible via the site, she added.
She said: “It’s all a bit surreal. We are really grateful for the amount of coverage we have had. It’s done our campaign a world of good. We also feel it’s done the bigger, political image of wind farms a lot of harm which is what we wanted.
“We wanted people to see the truth behind what’s going on. We are only one of 300 or so other action groups fighting similar proposals and, although obviously the Bronte factor is important to us, every other potential wind farm has its own special story.”
France 2 correspondent Claude Sempere said the story was of interest to the channel as the Brontes novels were popular in France.
He said: “The books are well-known in France. When we saw the story about this beautiful, historical landscape we asked if the channel if they were interested. We also have similar problems with wind farms when companies decide to put these kind of turbines in beautiful landscapes and we have people fighting against these kind of projects.
“We have better legislation in France. It’s forbidden to put these kind of turbines close to a village. You have to have a minimum distance of 2km.”
Sally McDonald, chairman of the Bronte Society Council, said the organisation was disappointed with the Council’s decision over the test mast.
She said: “These moorlands inspired and are reflected in the writings of the Brontes especially Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. The wild and beautiful moorland is a significant part of the Bronte story.
“Interest in the lives and works of the Brontes brings thousands of visitors to Haworth and Yorkshire year in year out. Erecting a substantial wind mast and four huge turbines three years from now will change the character of this moorland forever.’’ Phil Dyke, development director at Banks Renewables, has said the visual impact of the test mast will be slight and sustainable energy projects are “vital” to the future of Yorkshire and the UK.
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