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Bell 47 helicopter used in Lower Cumberworth wind turbine protest

Objectors to plans for a wind turbine have taken their fight to new heights.

Businessman Chris Johnson flew his helicopter over the site of the proposed 30-metre high, two-bladed turbine on land south of Coal Pit Lane, Lower Cumberworth.

The Bell 47 hovered at 45 metres – the maximum blade tip height of the proposed structure – while a photographer took pictures to illustrate how visible it would be to residents of surrounding districts.

The dramatic demonstration followed a meeting on Wednesday attended by 60 people from villages including Denby Dale, Lower Cumberworth, Shepley, Birdsedge and High Flatts who are opposed to the turbine plan submitted by Blackthorn Recycling.

Objectors claim the ‘industrial’ turbine is taller than other ‘domestic’ turbines in the area, would ruin the landscape and would pose a danger to bats which are known to roost in woodland.

Mr Johnson, who lives at Longroyd Lane, Denby Dale, and uses his helicopter in his work, said: “It has got a lot of people’s backs up.”

He said the turbine would pose a major health and safety issue for him as a pilot.

In an application to Kirklees planners, Blackthorn Recycling said the 250kW turbine was proposed for a landfill site that was not fit for building purposes.

It said: “By installing a turbine the site will generate green electricity and export it back into the grid which will help service the local area.”

It added: “It is proposed to use dull, matt colours and finishes for the mast and turbine head so as not to create a stark contrast between the turbine and the background sky and landscape.

“The turbine hub and nacelle (cover housing) will be painted a light grey colour with a matt finish. The mast will be finished in galvanised steel. The substation will be painted grey.”

Submissions on behalf of the developer argued that the proposed structure had been “sited appropriately” in regard to existing buildings and would have only a “moderate effect”, adding: “It’s geographical position is lower and visually less impeding than existing wind turbines in the area.”

A separate survey said “bat activity” close to the turbine site was unlikely to be high.

Public consultation on the proposal ends on September 1, 2013.

[photos available]