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How many wind turbines are too many? Calderdale man calls for clearer policy

A piecemeal approach to wind turbines may end up destroying the landscape, objectors say.

A Barkisland man has called on Calderdale Council to say how many wind turbines they will allow in the authority area.

And a Denholme Gate woman says she’s concerned about the cumulative impact of new wind turbine applications being backed.

Calderdale Council’s planning department is currently considering applications for 10 turbines of varying sizes at different locations throughout the authority area, including the Scammonden, Rishworth, Barkisland and Sowerby Bridge and Ovenden areas.

Barkisland man Andrew Lambert said: “I don’t object to anyone trying to bring their bills down via renewable energy, in the long run only they will know if it’s worked.

“But there seems to be a piecemeal approach to it, and where does that approach end?

“Applications are considered solely on that application, there needs to be a clear policy of how many wind turbines of how many sizes we’ll allow.

“They do blight the landscape, that’s my opinion and one shared by a lot of people.

“So I’d like to know if there’s a limit to how many will be approved, when does it become ‘too many’?”

Since 1991 the council has dealt with around 200 wind turbine applications.

Mr Lambert said: “I counted up the ones with details online and found they’d approved 85 applications and refused 42, others were withdrawn or had appeals with unclear details, but you can see it’s already quite a high number.”

On Tuesday, Calderdale councillors will be asked to consider modifications to the infrastructure for the consented Reaps Moss Wind Farm in Todmorden, plus a further wind turbine application for Hebden Bridge.

There are pending applications for wind turbines at Withens End Lane near to the Ringstone Edge Reservoir and Crow Hill Road at Barkisland.

Mr Lambert added: “Many are on green belt land, which is open land and most suitable for a wind turbine, but soon they’ll be dotted along the landscape.”

Anthea Orchard, who runs the Saying No to the Turbines website, added: “Calderdale say they refer to a document, the Landscape Capacity Study for Wind Energy Developments in the South Pennines, and judge each planning application alone, which is fair enough.

“But with developments like this you do have to consider the cumulative impact.

“Once the landscape has gone we won’t get it back.”

She said plans to modernise the wind farm at Ovenden were contradictory.

“They’re decommissioning the old turbines, but leaving the bases there saying the moorland is too sensitive.

“But I’ve calculated they’ll need 40,000 tonnes of concrete for the new bigger turbines, which means HGV deliveries – to them moorland isn’t sensitive enough to withstand that.”

She said she wasn’t against renewable energy adding: “I’ve just had solar panels put on my house and no-one would know. Wind turbines are intrusive.”

A spokesman for Calderdale Council said: “All planning applications are considered on their own merits.

“Any applications for wind turbines are treated in the same way, in accordance with the guidelines laid down by the Local Development Framework.”

He added the study document “gives advice and guidance on how many turbines the area could support”.

When asked for a number, the council spokesman added: “It doesn’t talk about a numeric figure, but about the capacity of the landscape to absorb further turbines.”

The document does not state a figure of when the landscape would be over-capacity.