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Leaflet blunder by turbine firm

A wind turbine company with plans for Penny Pot Lane has been forced to apologise and withdraw misleading leaflets promoting the scheme.

A complaint against leaflets issued by Kelda Water – parent company to Yorkshire Water – has been upheld by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA).

The company has been forced to withdraw some of the leaflets and apologise after the agency agreed with complaints made by members of the public.

The information flagged up as incorrect related to the amount of power the facility would generate and was sent out to thousands on homes in the area.

A spokesman for the company said they “held their hands up” and admitted the information “was not as clear as it could have been.”

He stressed Kelda is apologising for the misleading information and pledging to improve in the future.

“We are disappointed that on this this occasion the information we provided was not as clear as it could have been and will make any future communications clearer.”

“We don’t get things right every time. We are not perfect, and this was a lesson for us.” he said.

Campaigners have welcomed the ruling on the leaflet which can also be downloaded from the Kelda website.

The leaflet claimed that when fully operational the facility would produce 21 megawatts (MW) of power, but the ASA has condemned this claim.

Twenty-one megawatts is, in fact, the total installed capacity for the wind farm, not the amount the new Penny Pot facility will actually produce each year.

In its written ruling, the ASA said the customers would believe the 21 MW claim be the total amount the plant would produce, and has branded the claim misleading and banned Kelda from using the leaflets again.

A spokesman from Save the Dales campaign group, which is fighting the Penny Pot schemes. said they were pleased with the ruling. Kelda’s claims had caused a lot of anger, he added.

Two other complaints about the same leaflet – that the term ‘installed capacity’ was misleading, and that a claim the proposed turbines could power ‘up to 10,300 homes’ should be substantiated, were not upheld.

And Kelda has agreed to stop using fact sheets produced by trade body “renewableUK”, given out at public consultation meetings across the district, which claimed to dispell “myths” about wind farms’ affect on house prices, tourism and noise.

The spokesman added: “The lesson we have learnt is to always be cautious, every time we take information from anywhere.”

Kelda’s planning application for seven turbines on the Penny Pot site is awaiting determination by Harrogate Borough Council’s planning committee. Agents for Kelda have asked for an extension on the case until September 30 this year.