A campaign to stop the building of four giant wind turbines on Green Belt land in Wrightington has gathered pace following a packed public meeting.
More than 80 local residents filled the Wrightington Village Hall last Wednesday to hear local farmers defend their decision to allow the 75ft high turbines to be built on their farm land.
The scheme will allow each farm to produce enough electricity to make them self-sufficient but residents have accused the farmers of putting money before the feelings of villagers.
Both farmers involved have admitted they stand to make a healthy profit by selling any extra electricity generated by the turbines back to the National Grid, with the Government offering generous feed-in tariffs for businesses willing to install renewable energy systems.
Residents have now formed an action group called The WRAT Pack (Wrightington Residents Against Turbines), dropped leaflets locally and created a website to support their fight against the applications.
A spokesperson for the group, Karen Collins, of Church Lane, Wrightington, said: “These applications are driven by financial gain under the banner of renewable energy. “We are not just NIMBYs but are a well informed group interested in our wider community benefiting from our experiences and knowledge.
“The figures for wind turbines simply do not add up and the financial incentives to a few are industrialising the landscape for many.”
West Lancashire District Council recently agreed to a pre-planning stance that the first three turbines planned for Stoneleach Farm on Toogood Road, will not need an environmental impact assessment.
Two other farms in nearby Tunley Lane are now said to be considering similar plans.
“This is a beautiful village of open rolling hills,” said Mrs Collins.
“People love to come here to walk, to cycle and to go horse riding but other people are knocking on farmer’s doors with no local knowledge and no consultation and offering them the chance to make an easy profit.
“The farmers involved all admitted to us it is a business venture for them but Wrightington is an open rural landscape and wind turbines ruin the visual amenity enjoyed by many people within the community. “There is no planned approach within the UK for erecting these turbines and the reality is that they are installed wherever planning permission is granted.”
A spokesman for the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) said: “Farmers throughout the region are being encouraged to consider renewable energy projects as a way of reducing their carbon footprint and developing sustainable sources of energy for the future.
“Every project is unique and must be carefully considered by the local authority.”
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