Controversial plans for a wind farm on a prominent site on the Yorkshire Wolds are being recommended for approval despite huge opposition and warnings that it will be seen for many miles.
RWE Npower Renewables wants to build 10 turbines, 126 metres high to the blade tip, on land at Ling Hall Farm, West Heslerton, near Malton. Officers from Ryedale District Council are recommending members give the plans the go-ahead but 380 letters have been sent to the authority objecting to the scheme and concerns have been raised by several parish councils and others.
David Hinde, of the No to Wolds Wind Farms campaign group said: “This is a development at high level which will be seen for miles and miles.
“We do not need developments of this scale in this area which is a very beautiful area,” he said.
Objectors believe the turbines will be a blight on the landscape and claim they will be seen from the Vale of Pickering, Scarborough and even the North York Moors National Park.
They say the plan will lead to the “destruction of a beautiful area,” and claim that turbines produce little power when assessed against the harm they create.
A report prepared for the local authority’s planning committee says opponents are concerned the proposal will impact upon the local tourism industry. However 552 letters of support have been received from people saying the scheme will help tackle climate change and will also generate employment.
Officers say the impact on the wider landscape including the National Park will “not be significant” and say it would be difficult to defend a reason for refusal if the scheme went to appeal.
“It is considered that whilst the proposed wind farm will, if permitted, result in significant landscape and visual impacts over a localised area of four to six kilometres the overall benefits that would be derived by the proposal are such that the proposal is recommended for approval,” the report says.
Among the objectors are the owners of two nearby private airstrips at Moor Farm and Eddsfield, who object to the turbines on safety grounds. But officers says there will be no adverse impact on the Eddsfield airstrip, while measures on both aircraft safety and take-off and landing patterns will be addressed.
An aviation consultant brought in by the council says safeguards planned by RWE are “sufficient” for the safe operation of the Moor Farm airstrip.
The British Horse Society has also raised concerns about the scheme and the possible impact on riders in the area, while English Heritage has told the local authority it needs to weigh the harm of the development against the public benefits.
In a report to the council, RWE, says the wind farm will help meet renewable energy targets: “The Government has a target of cutting carbon monoxide emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. It is considered that East Heslerton wind farm would make an important contribution towards this.”
The company adds: “The electricity produced by the wind farm would offset the production of CO2 by between 18,400 and 62,500 tonnes a year.
“The development will add up to 30 megawatts of electricity generating capacity from renewable sources to the region and, in doing so, significantly contribute to regional and national renewable energy targets.”
Members of the council’s planning committee will meet at Norton College on Tuesday to discuss the application.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding