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‘Dumping ground’ fears raised over moorland wind turbines plans

Countryside campaigners have warned that vast swathes of tranquil landscapes could be blighted by a “hurricane of wind farms” as it emerged new plans have been put forward for more turbines in Bronte Country.

The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) is calling on Ministers to protect areas such as the moorland in the Bradford district from the “industrialism of valued countryside” as a direct result of Government policies.

Shaun Spiers, CPRE chief executive, said: “The English countryside is one of this country’s great glories.

“We must find a way of reconciling climate change mitigation and landscape protection. Otherwise we will sacrifice the beauty and tranquillity of much-loved landscapes for at least a generation.”

Mr Spiers spoke out after it emerged that plans have been submitted to Bradford Council for two 100-foot high wind turbines on fields at Well Heads Farm, Thornton, by Wellahead Energy Ltd, which has its base at Well Heads Farm, ahead of a decision by Bradford Council to allow a 200-foot wind monitoring mast on Thornton Moor.

That approval could lead to developer Banks Renewables building four 330-foot turbines on the green belt – despite concerns from the Bronte Society that it could damage views across the “unique” south Pennine landscape, which inspired Emily Bronte’s classic Wuthering Heights novel.

John Denham, president of the West Yorkshire branch of the CPRE, said: “We are strongly opposed to the turbines in Bronte Country and were quite horrified when it was agreed that they could put up the test mast to check the wind speed.

“We are very concerned about anything man-made that dominates the landscape.”

Residents have also spoken of their fears that moors above Bradford could become a “dumping ground” for large-scale wind farms.

Rachael Whitehead, of Denholme Gate, is opposing proposals for the turbines on Thornton Moor and Well Heads.

Mrs Whitehead, 36, said: “I am very protective about the area that I live in and I am very concerned that the area is going to become a dumping ground for wind turbines.”

Thornton Moor Wind Farm Action Group (TMWAG), which is fighting plans for large-scale wind farms in the area, called for greater public consultation on the latest Well Heads Farm planning application before it goes in front of councillors.

Anthea Orchard, chairman of TMWAG, said: “My concern is that if it is allowed to increase from one turbine to three what is to say that more will not be built in the future.

“I think people have a right to know more about this.”

A Department of Energy and Climate Change spokesman said it was committed to onshore wind “as a cost-effective and valuable part of the UK’s diverse energy mix.

He said: “While we believe that the impact of development is manageable, we are clear that new wind farm developments must be appropriately-sited and sensitive to communities’ concerns.”