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New £70m plan to double the number of giant turbines at Scout Moor

A huge moorland wind farm could double in size under £70m plans.

Peel Energy have confirmed they want to push ahead with proposals to widen and extend the farm at Scout Moor, near Rochdale, which were first suggested three years ago.

They want to join forces with landowners United Utilities to double the number of 100 metre-high turbines at the site from 26 to 52.

A planning application is set to be submitted to the government.

The initial expansion plans were first unveiled in 2011 and it was hoped approval would be sealed within two years.

Now a joint venture company, Scout Moor Wind Farm Expansion Ltd, has been set up.

The proposals involve installing additional wind turbines at locations within the site of the existing wind farm and at a new area to the north.

Peel said on-shore wind continued to be recognised as important, but the plans are likely to attract local objections.

The Scout Moor site went operational in 2008 after a protracted planning wrangle involving a series of public enquiries. But the company said enough electricity to meet the demand of almost half the homes in Rochdale was produced in the first two years.

Jon England, from Peel Energy, said any expansion would be ‘sensitive’ to the moorland and residents.

He said: “There have always been good reasons for expanding the existing wind farm, such as a proven track-record of high energy output, the investment already made to connect to the National Grid and the fact that we have an existing point of access.”

Business rates to Rochdale council would increase and a community benefit fund would be established.

The land is also a water catchment area and United Utilities said a ‘significant peat restoration programme’ would take place.

Jonathan Hodgkin, of United Utilities, added: “An expansion to the wind farm provides an opportunity to improve areas of heavily degraded peat moor as well as to protect and enhance wildlife habitat areas and water quality sources on Scout Moor.”

Public consultation is set to begin in April and Rochdale and Rossendale councils will be consulted.

A separate company, Coronation Power, has already announced plans for a wind farm on neighbouring moorland at Rooley Moor.

Public meetings over those plans are due to be held later this month.