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Brontë lovers unite to fight wind turbines plan for moor

Brontë enthusiasts from around the world are rallying to defeat plans for nine wind turbines on West Yorkshire moorland.

More than 100 letters of objection, many from members of the Brontë Society literary group, have been sent to Calderdale Council over a proposal to replace 23 turbines at Ovenden Moor with much taller structures up to 115m (377ft) to the blade tip.

Objections have been received from society members in China, the United States, Canada, Australia and Sweden.

The scheme is due to go before planners next Tuesday, with a planning report recommending that it be approved.

It concludes the development “will cause some temporary and permanent damage to the environment” but this has to be weighed against the need to provide renewable energy to help meet targets.

The Brontë Society’s Christine Went said: “It seems appalling that anyone could recommend imposing something on this scale on a heritage landscape.”

Objectors claim that the higher structures will blight the landscape and potentially damage tourism, much of it generated by the area’s Brontë connections.

Residents are also angry that there are no plans to remove the below-ground concrete bases of the old turbines.

Ukip MEP Godfrey Bloom is among the objectors. He says wind turbines are “hopelessly inefficient” and require expensive state subsidies.

The council has received seven letters of support for the plans. One supporter said: “As a regular visitor, I find the proposals in sympathy with the scenery and heritage of the area.”

A spokesman for the developer, E.ON, said: “Ovenden Moor has been supplying renewable energy for over 18 years, since then wind- power technology has moved on and its now possible to produce twice as much power with half as many turbines.

“We hope the wind farm will have a positive effect on the local area and plan to offer a Community Benefit Fund to support local community projects if the new wind farm development goes ahead.”

The spokeswoman added: “We have carefully designed the new wind farm layout to limit the impact it has on the local area, despite the larger height of the proposed turbines.”

She said a “decommissioning plan” for the old structures would be agreed with the council but did not form part of the current application.

Meanwhile East Riding councillors have decided a 150ft high wind turbine would spoil views of ancient barrows nearby. They refused plans for the turbine at Burton Fleming Grange Farm, Burton Fleming.

English Heritage said the turbine would harm the setting of large prehistoric barrows at Willy Howe, nearly a mile away, and Wold Newton.