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Birdsedge residents aim to ‘blow away’ wind turbine plans

Villagers are gearing up for a showdown with councillors over long-running plans for four huge wind turbines near their homes.

Residents in Birdsedge and High Flatts have been fighting the plans since 2009.

On Thursday the plans will go before a special meeting of Kirklees Council’s Heavy Woollen and Huddersfield joint planning sub-committee.

Pure Renewable Energies Ltd wants to put the 100m (328ft) tall turbines in Broadstone Road, Cumberworth, but residents say they are too big and too close to neighbouring homes.

Campaigners from the action group Birdsedge Opposition to Large Turbines (BOLT) met with their MP, Dewsbury Tory Simon Reevell, at the village hall on Thursday night to show they were prepared to see the battle through to the end.

Wearing specially-made yellow T-shirts and brandishing placards, the group has marshalled hundreds of people in opposition.

Mr Reevell has backed residents and has written a letter of objection to the council.

Planning officers are recommending refusal to the committee, but residents are taking nothing for granted.

A report to the committee says the turbines will damage the Green Belt and would have an “ever-present, dominating and oppressive impact on many aspects of people’s lives”.

It says the turbines would create “unacceptable” levels of noise and three of the four were too close to roads, causing a “potential serious danger”.

BOLT spokesman Jacey Bedford said the council report was a “damning indictment” of the plans, but that did not mean that councillors would necessarily throw it out.

Several protesters will address the committee at Dewsbury Town Hall and BOLT has booked a coach to take supporters to the meeting.

Councillors will visit the site before the meeting and campaigners plan a silent protest.

“There are 150 houses in the village and this will affect a lot of people,” said Mrs Bedford.

“The development is just too big and too close and the plans fail on the grounds of noise and the openness of the Green Belt.”

Mrs Bedford said 600 letters of objection were sent to the council over the firm’s first application, which never went before councillors, and a second – which saw minor changes – has seen a further 500 letters submitted.

“The Government has issued guidelines saying that communities should be consulted over such matters, but those guidelines came after this application,” she said.

“Harm to the countryside cannot be trampled by the need for wind power.

“There is absolutely no need for these turbines.

“The case for wind power has not been proved. In fact countries which embraced this technology before Britain are now turning away from it because they realise it doesn’t work.”

Mrs Bedford said if given permission the turbines would have “temporary” approval for 25 years.

“For people in their 50s and 60s ‘temporary’ means the rest of their lives,” she said. “To many that would be a life sentence.”