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Hawkworth anti-turbine fight given boost with change in rules

A campaign against an “industrial sized” wind turbine at Hawksworth has been given a boost by a Government announcement.

Changes introduced in June will give the public a greater say on wind farms in their communities – a move which has been greeted as “excellent news” by those objecting to the scheme near Hawksworth Quarry.

The announcement, which came just days after campaigners began leafleting against the 74m turbine, makes it clear that the concerns of local people are not automatically outweighed by the need for renewable energy.

Anton Elsborg, spokesman for Save Our Farmlands from Industrial Turbines, said: “That was a real boost to us because it seemed like the playing field was getting a little leveller.

“We were delighted with that.”

The application, from land owner John Ogden, has led to the formation of a campaign group Menston Against Wind Turbines, who say the turbine would tower over the top of the local landscape.

They claim the application, could also be the front runner for a wind farm of seven turbines.

Mr Elsborg, who lives in Guiseley, stressed the need for people to make their views known to planners.

“This is an industrial product – it is not something that fits in with the scale of the landscape,” he said.

“Each blade is longer than a cricket pitch – when those things are moving you cannot ignore them.

“With the point of the blade pointing upwards the whole thing is the size of 17 London double decker buses on top of each other.”

He said the turbine which would be sited close to two important footpaths would be potentially visible for several kilometres and would also create significant noise for anyone closer than 200 meters.

In a submission to Leeds City Council the scheme’s agents AAH Planning Consultants said: “The 2009 Renewable Energy Directive sets a target for the UK to achieve 15 per cent of its energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020.

“This compares to three per cent in 2009. This proposal would directly accord with the principles behind the White Paper and the Renewable Energy Directive and would enable a local energy supply which would be entirely decentralised.”

The consultants say the turbine would have a low level of impact on the surrounding landscape, and that because of its 25 year life cycle there would be no permanent impact.

To comment on the application, e-mail planning@leeds.gov.uk and quote 12/01233/FU.