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Villagers fight plans for ‘noisy’ 300ft tall turbines

Villagers are fighting plans for four 328ft-tall wind turbines on green belt land which they claim will “tower over” homes and a school.

Residents of Birdsedge, High Flatts and Cumberworth, between Huddersfield and Barnsley, are claiming the proposed Dearne Head windfarm site is too close to homes, a primary school and a church.

Some properties will be around 550 metres from the closest turbine which residents say will cause noise disturbance and flickering shadows inside their homes.

The plans have been submitted by Pure Renewable Energy Ltd which withdrew a five-turbine plan for the same site back in 2010.

Residents have formed an action group, Birdsedge and district Opposition to Large Turbines, or BOLT for short.

Birdsedge resident Jacey Bedford said the turbines, at 100m in height, will tower over homes.

“We are saying that the turbines are too close and too big.

“In most parts of Europe there are government guidelines that say there should be a stand-off of one or two kilometres from housing (depending on the country) and in France anyone working within 500 metres of a turbine should, by law, wear a hard hat.

“Yet because Britain has no government guideline, inappropriate plans can be submitted by firms with an eye on those profitable government subsidies.”

The campaign group also has concerns about ‘shadow flicker’ which is caused by a low sun behind revolving blades.

A report prepared by the applicant says that shadow flicker will affect several properties for more than 30 hours in a year. The report suggests planting trees to reduce this problem.

Mrs Bedford believes the area already has too many wind turbines.

“There are already 25 turbines within 2-3 kilometres. Most of them are in the Barnsley authority, but we’re right on the border between Kirklees and Barnsley and enough is enough.

“These industrial structures looming over the village will have a detrimental effect on our community.”

Locals have also expressed concerns about noise and the effect on wildlife, including protected species such as bats.

“The bats feed in Rusby Wood which is directly between two of the proposed turbines,” said Mrs Bedford.

In a 74-page report presented to Kirklees Council, the applicant says the development is “relatively modest at four turbines”.

It would provide enough electricity for around 5,000 homes and contribute to improved air quality by reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

The site has a high average wind speed which makes the scheme commercially viable, the report notes.

The nearest home would be over 500m away, although there is no UK guidance on separation distances.

“Modern turbines are large but nevertheless elegant in design and benign in operation. They are however not to everyone’s taste visually but that does not make them unacceptable,” the company said.

Surveys of bats showed activity on the southern section of the site but no activity over open ground.

It concluded that the turbines “will not give rise to noise emissions that will adversely impact on the nearest residential properties sufficient to refuse planning permission.”

Comments on the plans can be sent to the council until February 1.