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Bronte heritage put before green energy in key wind turbine ruling  

Credit:  By Tom Whitehead | 17 February 2013 | The Telegraph | www.telegraph.co.uk ~~

The literary significance of the “Bronte” moorlands has been used for the first time to curb the onslaught of wind farms, in a key victory for campaigners.

The brooding West Yorkshire countryside that inspired classics such as Wuthering Heights has been protected from plans for more turbines because of the importance of the famous sister writers.

It is believed to be the first time the literary significance of an area has been put before the need for green energy.

It comes as the High Court will this week hear a separate case brought by leading heritage groups hoping to protect historic sites from wind farm development.

Bradford Council has rejected plans for a 15m turbine at Hardnaze Farm, Oxenhope, Keighley, less than two miles from Haworth, where Emily, Charlotte and Anne Bronte grew up.

Councillors ruled the scheme would do little to boost renewable energy – while creating a blot on Bronte Country.

The area is already a focus for green energy with turbines twice the height of Nelson’s Column due to replace existing ones at the Ovenden Moor Wind Farm four miles away.

More than a dozen applications for turbines have been submitted to Bradford Council in the last year, on top of the Ovenden Moor redevelopment plans approved by neighbouring Calderdale Council.

The area attracts visitors from around the world wanting to see the moorland views that inspired much of the Bronte’s finest writing.

Sally McDonald, chairman of The Bronte Society Council, said the decision “gives support to the Bronte Society’s argument that this is a special and unique landscape and that this landscape needs to be protected”

“Visitors journey from around the world come to see the wild moors of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights and want to see high waving heather – not high waving turbines,” she said.

“I am delighted by this decision and that all future applications will have to take into account ‘the importance of the historical and literary associations of the area.

“In making this decision, Bradford acknowledges for the first time the importance of the unique landscape to the area.

Campaigners will now turn their attention to plans for four 328ft turbines flanking each side of the Brontë Way on Thornton Moor.

The planning ruling said: “The proposed development would introduce an incongruous and widely visible vertical element into this sensitive upland landscape, whose historical and literary associations are also central to its wider economic value in tourism terms.

“The proposed turbine would be seen from a number of vantage points and would result in significant harm to the character of the landscape that would outweigh its limited contribution towards overall renewable energy targets.”

Bronte Society Heritage and Conservation officer Christine Went said: “It is good they have acknowledged the importance of this heritage landscape, and internationally renowned heritage area.

“A woman who came to Haworth to write about the Brontës recently said ‘It’s not worth coming here because it’s all turbines’.”

Britain is building more wind turbines than ever before, with more than 1,200 turbines due to start spinning throughout the countryside and around the coast over the next 12 months.

The “dash for wind” has been prompted by a cut in subsidies due this year and an apparent relaxing of the planning rules.

Last year the approval rate for wind farms went up by 50 per cent, according to industry group Renewable UK.

Source:  By Tom Whitehead | 17 February 2013 | The Telegraph | www.telegraph.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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