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Fears turbines will create an ‘industrial landscape’

Objectors to plans to site wind turbines at Brightenber Hill near Gargrave fear an approval will mean the area currently described as “pastoral” is turned into an industrial landscape.

EnergieKontor UK last week submitted plans for three, 100 metre (328ft) high turbines on the same site its original plans for five turbines were refused two years ago.

The scheme was refused permission by Craven District Council and also on appeal to the Planning Inspectorate.

Now the company says it has taken into account comments made by the planning inspector and removed two of the original turbines closest to Ash Tree Farm, the nearest residential property to the site.

But the Friends of Craven Landscape (FoCL), who two years ago employed a barrister to fight alongside the district council at the appeal public inquiry, believe if permission is given, more applications for the site will follow.

Stephanie Emmett, of FoCL, said plans had been submitted for more turbines close to the existing turbines – the same size as those planned for Brightenber – at Knabbs Ridge, on the A59 towards Harrogate.

“At the moment, there are eight turbines, but very soon, there could be 36 turbines,” she said.

“For us here in Bank Newton, West Marton and all the surrounding villages and farmsteads, the landscape currently described as pastoral and tranquil could soon be described as an industrial, windfarm landscape.”

This week, the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) called on the government for clarification on the number of onshore windfarms it would allow to be built.

A separate report carried out by an American professor also suggested this week that wind farms could cause climate change.

Hilary Fenten, for Craven CPRE, said the group supported renewable energy, but there needed to be more emphasis on getting the right technology in the right place.

“The wind energy industry believes it can build industrial turbines wherever it wants and because of heavy subsidies it has the finances to push projects through the appeal system and the courts.

“Local objectors can’t match industry funding and even some district councils feel powerless in the face of the industry’s financial muscle.

“It’s time to look at how things are done and to level the playing field.”