Villagers in Sicklinghall, Kearby and Kirkby Overblow fighting plans to site two giant wind turbines on green belt land have been given a massive boost with the conclusions of an expert’s report.
More than 300 objections have already been lodged with Harrogate Borough Council in relation to the two potential turbines in the Lower Wharfe Valley Green Belt – an area designated as having Special Landscape Character.
If planning permission is granted, the tallest of the two, measuring 46m or 153ft – higher than a 15-storey block of flats – will be erected at Paddock House Lane, Sicklinghall. The second, slightly shorter at 34m or 113ft, would stand close to the highest point of the ridge at Kearby Lane, just 150m from the closest house at Kearby.
However, in her report to the Council’s planning department, the authority’s Landscape Architect, Debbie Samuel, said the pair of turbines had the “potential to damage historic and classic long distance views”, and was felt they would be “harmful to the landscape area”.
Kearby resident and campaign spokesman, Guy Townsend, said:
This report is very welcome indeed and gives credence to our fight.
It backs up what we have been saying from the offset, namely if planning permission for these huge turbines is given the go-ahead, we can say goodbye to the wonderful views this area is famed for.
Far from improving the environment they will cause it untold damage.
We know these applications are being viewed closely by other landowners and renewable energy companies. If they are approved then it will open the floodgate to many more.
In her report about the Paddock House Lane turbine, Mrs Samuel said:
This is a large installation and even though the fields are densely planted, the turbine would be still greater in vertical scale then these surrounding landscape features. It would be dominant when viewed on the skyline.
Of the Kirby Lane application, Miss Samuel concluded:
In the assessment of the views up to 1km away, there is likely to be a high degree of visibility at close range from various points along Kearby Lane and numerous public rights of way in all directions from the turbine.
Mr Townsend added that in addition to the visual impact, there was the possible threat the pair of turbines would pose to wildlife, in particular the thriving red kite colony, bats and migrating geese.
Selby MP Nigel Adams, whose constituency covers this area, has written to support the local parish councils in their objections to the turbines.
If anyone wishes to make any representations about the plans, they should Harrogate Borough Council directly quoting the reference numbers: