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Huge turnout at public meeting as Lepton villagers stand firm against wind turbine plans  

Credit:  By Robert Sutcliffe | The Huddersfield Daily Examiner | 14 August 2013 | www.examiner.co.uk ~~

A village has united to fight a wind turbine plan.

Some 250 people turned up for a public meeting to hear about controversial proposals to erect a 35m wind turbine in Lepton.

The planning application is being made for Windy Gap Farm in Green Balk Lane.

But a public meeting at Lepton Highlanders Sports Club heard one of the protest organisers, Andrew Thorpe, tell residents the proposed development was not intended to provide power for a working farm.

He claimed the turbine would be to sell power to the National Grid.

Mr Thorpe said the proposed scheme was situated in greenbelt land and ‘very special circumstances’ were needed to justify such a development.

He said: “The premises associated with this proposal are connected to main electricity, so there is no need to install a standalone turbine generator.”

He added that although the application was for a 35m wind turbine the reality was that was only the mast height.

He said: “If you add the additional height of the rotors it is actually 46.3m.

“That is as high as 10 double decker buses and twice the height of Lepton Church tower.”

He also questioned the findings of an ecological survey saying that the report stated there was no evidence of badger activity while he had personally observed them “in the immediate vicinity of the site”.

In addition raptor birds, (birds of prey) did not seem to be mentioned in the report he said.

Local ornithologists had reported seeing red kites, buzzards, sparrow hawks, merlin, kestrel, little owl, barn owl and tawny owl in the vicinity of the site.

The meeting was told the proposed turbine would be detrimental to their flyways and hunting grounds and a physical danger to the birds themselves.

Fellow organiser Alan Steers said: “I am delighted with the response tonight. We have had really good support from the surrounding villages too.”

Clr Jim Dodds, (Con, Denby Dale), representing Simon Reevell MP for Dewsbury, said: “Simon is supporting the objectors. It’s too close to the village and will have a detrimental impact on visual amenity.”

A spokesman for the applicant said in a report to the Kirklees Council: “The proposal lies within the green belt. It is therefore by definition inappropriate development; however it is nationally accepted that applications for renewable energy sources constitute very special circumstances that allow the grant of planning permission long as they are appropriately sited and their impact is minimised.

“It is our opinion that the proposal complies with all relevant planning policy and should be granted planning permission.”

The application will be discussed by Kirklees planners later this year.

Source:  By Robert Sutcliffe | The Huddersfield Daily Examiner | 14 August 2013 | www.examiner.co.uk

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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