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Wind farm proposals blown away by council

Divisive plans to develop near 400 ft high wind masts have been kicked out by Ryedale councillors at a stormy public meeting.

Proposals had been submitted by RWE Npower Renewable Ltd to build ten gigantic turbines at Ling Hall Farm on the Yorkshire Wolds.

However, councillors went against officers recommendations to approve the plans, 
rejecting the proposals by nine votes to two.

The controversial proposals had split opinion within the community.

The developers behind the proposals had claimed that 65 per cent of the local community backed their plans, while hundreds of residents bombarded the council with formal objections to the development.

Around 80 people packed into Norton College last Tuesday evening to learn the fate of the application, and campaigners are thrilled at the decision.

“It was an overwhelming majority and showed the feeling in the room, that the public was anti-wind farm,” said campaigner Paul Stephens.

Mr Stephens, a farmer who neighboured the proposed site in West Heslerton, had concerns about the impact the 126 metre turbines would have on his private airstrip, which he’s operated for nearly half a century.

Concerns were also raised to the council about the impact the steel blades would have on tourism.

However, Martin Wood, project developer for RWE, claimed the development would bring benefits to the community.

He claimed that the turbines would generate sufficient power to provide energy for up to 14,500 homes each year in Ryedale, and the company was planning to pump upwards of £10 million into the local community, which would benefit the local economy during the construction period.

The developers were also planning to earmark funds which would benefit local projects if the scheme went ahead, with a further £1.6 million in contracts per year in the life of the wind farm.

However, regardless of the potential benefit, Mr Stephens said that the plans had to be rejected due to his belief that wind farms are “inconsistent, unreliable and visible”.

And his opinions were echoed by members of the authority that threw the plans out.

Cllr Brian Maud said, like the proposals, wind turbines should be bunched and not as stand-alone masts.

But he added: “Not on the High Wolds – they are special.”

Cllr Lindsay Burr said off-shore sites should be supported rather than a prominent site on the Yorkshire Wolds which would “spoil the countryside”.

Other councillors said they were concerned about the impact of the windfarm on the tourist industry because the turbines would have been visible from Scarborough, the Vale of Pickering and the edge of the North York Moors National Park.

The authority had engaged a specialist consultant to study the potential noise impact of the turbines if they were approved

Head of planning services for the authority, Gary Houseden, said that council officers had gone through noise issues “with a fine toothcomb” before making their recommendation to approve the turbines.

However, Ryedale District Council leader, Cllr Linda Cowling, added: “Ryedale’s landscape is precious. The turbines will be huge – the disadvantages outweigh the advantages.”