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Campaign group declares victory ‘fantastic’ result

Wind turbines on prominent high ground overlooking Wharfedale are to be dismantled following a lengthy planning battle mounted by residents.

Campaigners are celebrating the news that the four 45-metre high turbines at Chelker Reservoir are to be taken down from the scenic spot where they have stood since the 1990s.

Utility company Kelda Group – of which Yorkshire Water is a subsidiary – says it will begin dismantling the turbines in the next fortnight.

The move came as Craven District Council was preparing an enforcement notice for the removal of the turbines.

People living in Addingham and Draughton recently strongly opposed two attempts by Kelda Water Services to gain planning permission for two much larger turbines at the spot.

And campaigners called for the removal of the existing turbines, inline with planning consent, arguing they were seldom in use.

Long-serving member of Parishioners Against Chelker Turbines, Catherine Leigh, who lives at nearby East Berwick Farm, said the news was “fantastic”.

She said: “We just tolerate them. It was new technology at the time and we thought that’s just what they’re going to do.

“Everybody around here knows, without a shadow of a doubt, for three quarters of the time they’ve been in existence, they have not been working.”

Noise from the turbines is one the group’s concerns, and residents feared the noise of the proposed bigger turbines could make their lives unbearable.

Craven District Council development control manager, Ian Swain, said the Council had requested an enforcement notice from its legal team to require the removal of the existing turbines, but understood Yorkshire Water had now appointed a contractor to remove them.

Kelda Group communications manager, Martyn Basierak, said: “Last year, we took the decision not to pursue an appeal against a planning application that was refused by Craven District Council for two new wind turbines to replace the existing four turbines at Chelker Reservoir.

“Further to this, we informed Craven District Council a number of months ago of our intention to remove the existing turbines and have been organising a suitable contractor to do this for us.

“We are planning to be on site to start the removal of the four turbines over the next two weeks and Craven District Council are aware of this.

“The wind development at Chelker Reservoir, near Addingham, has provided clean energy for nearly 25 years to power Chelker and Lobwood pumping stations which provide water to Yorkshire Water customers in the Skipton and Addingham area.”