Campaigners have welcomed a decision to halt controversial plans for a multi-million pound wind farm after claiming the scheme had cast a shadow over their lives for the past two years.
The green energy firm Banks Renewables announced yesterday it had suspended the proposals to build the wind farm at Copmanthorpe, on the outskirts of York, amid uncertainty over the city’s planning policies.
York Council withdrew detailed plans for the Local Development Framework’s Core Strategy in May last year just three months after submitting them to the Government for final approval due to concerns over its “potential soundness”.
Opponents welcomed the announcement by Banks Renewables, but warned they would fight any attempt to resurrect the scheme in the future.
The Copmanthorpe Wind Farm Action Group’s secretary, Alan Davidson, who has lived in the village with his wife Dorothy for the past 20 years, said: “Everyone feels as though a weight has been lifted from their shoulders. Life in the village has been blighted for the last two years by these plans for the wind farm.
“While we are delighted that the company has decided to suspend the scheme, we certainly will not be disbanding the group. We will continue to oppose any new plans that are put forward in the future.”
Banks Renewables unveiled plans for the proposed Hagg Wood wind farm, which would have been built on agricultural land to the west of Copmanthorpe, at the start of 2011.
The development would have seen as many as five 475ft turbines, each costing £2.5m, built on land owned by Askham Bryan College to generate enough electricity each year to power about 8,300 homes. The scheme would see a partnership evolved with the college to train students for careers in the wind farm industry.
However, the proposals provoked a wave of opposition with nearly 2,000 signatures collected on a petition against the scheme.
The development director at Banks Renewables, Phil Dyke, claimed the company was “disappointed” to take the decision to suspend the plans.
But he added: “The imperative to generate more of the energy that we all consume from renewable sources is getting ever stronger, and once the updated Core Strategy is in place, we will look to work with the council to identify possible locations for renewable energy developments in the York area.”
York Council has confirmed that an updated Core Strategy, which will act as a reference point for development for the next 20 years, will not be in place until 2015.