Campaigners fighting plans for a wind farm on a prominent site on the Yorkshire Wolds yesterday spoke of their delight after the plans were rejected and said they were determined to oppose any possible appeal by the developer.
RWE Npower Renewables wanted permission to build 10 turbines, 126 metres high to the blade tip, on land at Ling Hall Farm, West Heslerton, near Malton, but members of Ryedale District Council’s planning committee threw the proposals out after the authority received 380 letters objecting to the scheme.
Objectors believe the turbines would be a blight on the landscape and claimed they would be seen from the Vale of Pickering, Scarborough and even the North York Moors National Park.
However speaking after the planning committee’s decision, RWE said it was now considering whether to lodge an appeal against the councillors decision, which went against the recommendations of council officers who had urged members to give the plans the green light.
Paul Stephens, of the Heslerton Wind Farm Action Group, said yesterday: “The objectors are very pleased that it went our way.”
He pledged if an appeal was lodged against the council’s decision protesters would continue their fight.
“We have some very solid grounds why we are objecting and obviously we will stick to our guns and hopefully we can get it stopped,” Mr Stephens added.
But, Martin Wood, RWE Npower Renewables’ developer, added yesterday: “We are extremely disappointed with this decision as it is a great location for a wind farm.
“However, we would like to thank the residents of Ryedale for the support they have expressed for the wind farm so far, and we will now consider our next steps, including a public inquiry.
“Meeting UK targets for renewable energy remains a huge challenge and we believe that onshore wind farms such as the one proposed near East Heslerton play an important part in the ongoing effort to help tackle climate change.”
Mr Wood, speaking afterwards, added that the authority’s decision meant that vital investment would not be made in the local economy.
Objectors claimed the turbines would lead to the “destruction of a beautiful area,” and raised concerns the proposal would impact upon the local tourism industry.
However officers from Ryedale District Council were recommending that the scheme was given the go-ahead. The authority also received 552 letters of support from people saying the scheme would help tackle climate change and would also generate employment.
Officers said in a report prepared for the planning committee that the impact on the wider landscape including the National Park would “not be significant” and warned 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 said.
Coun John Raper, chairman of the planning committee, said afterwards members had resolved that while the proposal would reduce carbon emissions “the impact of the 126 metre turbines was considered to be so significant” that members felt they could not back the plans.
In a report to the council, RWE, said the wind farm would 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.”
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