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The ‘siege’ is over for Birdsedge residents as Kirklees councillors reject four 101m wind turbines  

Credit:  By Joanne Douglas | The Huddersfield Daily Examiner | 23 August 2013 | www.examiner.co.uk ~~

Cheers filled a town hall as councillors threw out plans for four 331-ft wind turbines in Birdsedge.

And the developer was criticised for his dismissive comments about the greenbelt.

The rejection of Pure Renewable Energy Ltd’s application for fields off Broadstone Road, was greeted with applause from the 40-strong group of residents who attended the Dewsbury Town Hall meeting.

But the developer stood little chance of winning – all 14 councillors voted ‘no’ in unison at the combined planning meeting of Heavy Woollen and Huddersfield committees.

George Russell was the first of the residents to take to the floor and said: “There are 31 turbines now visible from Penistone roundabout with more in the pipeline. There will be no escape, The scale of the turbines will be a dominating feature on the landscape.”

Jacey Bedford spoke of the impact of shadow flicker, saying: “The developer suggested buying blinds and the farms planting a screen of trees.

“The developer says the effects are temporary because the turbines have a 25 year time span. These turbines will last longer than some of us.”

James Heath spoke of the noise impact and said the turbines would be built overseas and would be unmanned, with no jobs created.

Julie Maxwell added: “These turbines will dominate, overwhelm and totally shadow this whole community. From my home I will be able to hear at least three turbines and be in the shadow flicker of two.

“We’ve been under siege since 2009 and felt bullied into submission since then.”

Matt Wright brought some humour to the meeting, saying he chose to leave behind his beloved West Bromwich Albion football team to relocate to the “green and pleasant land of Kirklees.”

He added: “I choose to live in the greenbelt – it is the envy of the world. The greenbelt is not there for the minority, it is there for the majority to enjoy.”

Sue Steeples said the Birdsedge community had been under threat since 2006 but were “resolute” in their opposition to the turbines.

A statement by Denby Dale Conservative Clr Jim Dodds, read by Clr David Hall in his absence, concluded that the turbines were too close to properties and the village school, as well as being too tall and overbearing on the villages.

Alan Irvine, managing director of Pure Renewable Energy, had the hardest task to convince members to go against public opinion.

He said the application stood up on two policy grounds – that a sustainable development should go ahead without delay and that councils should approve an application if an impact can be made acceptable.

Mr Irvine argued both stood up to scrutiny, saying: “It’s what is acceptable in the greenbelt.

“We accept there will be a visual impact but you will get that from any wind turbine. Landscape impact does not warrant refusal.

“We as a country are facing a shortage of energy.”

Councillors were told by Kirklees planning officer Nick Willock, who had recommended refusal, that the turbines would feed into the National Grid and “the cost of the turbines is quite significant, millions for this development.”

He said the normal operating capacity of one turbine would be 30% which could power 1,400 to 1,500 homes.

But when councillors came to debate the application it was clear there was only one outcome.

Clr Ken Sims, Conservative for Holme Valley South, spoke of his experience in the Holme Valley, saying they were the first to have a wind turbine and thought it would bring benefits.

“It’s brought us problems,” he said.

Clr Graham Turner, Denby Dale Labour, left the developer certain of his view: “To be so dismissive of the greenbelt is what’s got me.

“It’s not ‘only’ the greenbelt it is the greenbelt and it’s not something we should take for granted.

“I think these will be seen on the horizon from Bradford. There’s a huge impact and to dismiss it doesn’t do them any favours.”

Clr Andrew Pinnock, Cleckheaton Lib Dem, said: “I’ve been in favour of wind turbines but on this occasion I have to agree with others and the very informative report we have from officers telling us ‘no’.”

Clr Paul Kane, planning committee chair and Labour Dewsbury East member, said: “In normal circumstances when we have supported turbines there’s been some benefit to the community but there’s not in this case.

“For the applicant to come here and say that about the greenbelt … it is special and it is inappropriate development in the greenbelt and there are no special circumstances.”

The applicant has the right to appeal but gave no indication.

Source:  By Joanne Douglas | The Huddersfield Daily Examiner | 23 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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