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Weather mast plan blown out  

Credit:  This Is Lancashire | 12th December 2012 | www.thisislancashire.co.uk ~~

A weather sensor, which it was claimed could pave the way for a windfarm in Bolton, will not be built.

Wind energy specialist Empirica Investments submitted plans to erect a 50m high meteorological mast on protected green belt land to the north of Yate Fold Farm in Chorley Old Road, Smithills.

The council’s planning committee was recommended to approve the plans.

This could have seen the mast in place for up to a year after it was built.

In a letter to the council, Empirica said the information collected from the mast would be used to ascertain the feasibility of a wind turbine at the site.

Bosses insisted the proposal was simply for the sensor and that “any subsequent proposal for a specific wind energy scheme would require a separate application.”

In a report submitted to the local authority Empirica also stated that after the 12 months, “the mast would be dismantled by qualified mast installers without any long-term damage to the land on the site”.

A report to the council said it had received a number of objections with concerns ranging from the mast’s impact on the skyline, proximity to properties, and that it was “a precursor to future wind turbine development, a Trojan horse”.

Speaking against the proposal, Smithills councillor Roger Hayes said: “We’ve had 23 objections and people who know the area know there aren’t a lot of houses there so that’s a very high volume.

“It doesn’t contribute anything in the way of renewable energy and it will be visible.”

Committee member Andy Morgan added: “It would be very naive to think the applicant would spend this sort of money to set up a mast that’s going to be replaced by one turbine in the future.

“I can see a windfarm coming down the line, not one or two masts.”

Cllr Nick Peel said: “What we are supposed to be looking at is a meteorological mast not a wind turbine, an application like that would still have to come back here.”

Source:  This Is Lancashire | 12th December 2012 | www.thisislancashire.co.uk

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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