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Wharfe Valley: Wind of change blows in for anti-turbine protest

Campaigners could be given new hope in their battle against plans to build a wind turbine in green belt fields behind the former High Royds Hospital site.

An action group has been set up in Menston to fight the plans which could see a 74-metre-high turbine built on land north of Hawksworth Quarry.

Campaigners from Menston Against Wind Turbines fear the height of the proposed structure will be twice that of the clock tower at High Royds and will tower over the top of the Odda.

But new Government guidance could strengthen their battle. Local councillor Paul Wadsworth said that new legislation could give locals more of a voice on plans to build wind turbines or solar panels.

Coun Wadsworth (Con, Guiseley and Rawdon) said the announcement from the Department for Communities and Local Government may give more weight to issues such as landscape when a decision is made.

The shadow executive board member for environmental services said: “In my ward we have had recent experience of, what are in my view, inappropriate applications to build wind turbines.

“Often they can spoil views or impact on the rural character of a local area.

“We have proposals for one in the High Royds area of Guiseley which could do exactly that and I am pleased that the Government is intervening to ensure that local people can have more of a say on these important local matters.

“While this guidance is aimed at larger scale wind farms and solar panels, I am hopeful that it will also influence those planning on delivering smaller scale schemes as well.”

Speaking on the Menston Community Association website chairman Alan Elsegood said: “The area enjoys Special Landscape Area status and such is the elevation of the moorside that the erection of a turbine of such height would lead to its domination of the entire landscape, and the turbine would be visible for miles.”

The scheme’s agents AAH Planning Consultants said in a report to Leeds City Council that it would have a low impact on the landscape. The report said: “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.”