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‘Who benefits?’ claims turn the heat up in Gorpley turbine application row

Campaigners have welcomed Todmorden Town Council development committee’s decision last week to recommend Kelda Water proposals to place four 125m wind turbines on land its Yorkshire Water arm owns at Gorpley, Todmorden be refused.

Residents are fighting to have the plans thrown out when they come before Calderdale Council’s planning committee in May, citing grounds that they would be over-obtrusive on a moorland habitat already overloaded with turbines following successful applications by Coronation Power on neighbouring Todmorden Moor, Reaps Moss and Crook Hill.

For its part, Kelda says the plans will help reduce bills for Yorkshire Water customers and would be a more eco-friendly way of generating power.

Campaigners against the plans are urging people to register objections on planning grounds with Calderdale Council before the deadline of April 3 (not March 21 as erroneously stated last week), and said any after that would still have to be considered.

Campaigner Steve Bottomley, whose home would be closest to the turbines if the application were granted, said he hoped more people would register objections having seen for themselves the height of turbines of the same size going up on Coronation Power’s sites.

He added: “People do need to register their objections individually, not as households which would only be treated as one objection, considering the overintensification of use, loss of amenity and effect on the natural habitat.” The application number is 14/00126/WDF, accessible on Calderdale Council’s website.

The town council came to a similar decision they made over a five-turbine application last year. Kelda says the reduction to four makes a significant difference to the previous application, which was also turned down by Calderdale Council. Objectors take issue with this and believe the reduction of one turbine makes no appreciable difference.

Mr Bottomley said recent experience had also highlighted fresh concerns about the state of the highway after heavy traffic serving Coronation Power sites had used it. “It’s scandalous, it is potholed – someone will have an accident on it then something will be done about it,” he said.

Mr Bottomley said Kelda was an internationally owned company which in 2012-13 did not pay any corporation tax in this country. He said campaigners felt this was an important issue as Kelda was claiming money would go to reduce bills but they suspected it would go elsewhere to make extra profit.

A Yorkshire Water spokesperson said the turbines would help reduce customers’ bills and would reduce the company’s carbon footprint.

“The proposed turbines at Gorpley will generate renewable energy which will be used to offset some of Yorkshire Water’s £50m a year energy bill and help us to reduce our carbon footprint.

“Reducing our energy bill enables us to limit escalating costs that impact our customers through their water bills. We use a wide range of renewable energy generation methods to achieve this including anaerobic digestion, hydro, wind and solar.

“Yorkshire Water fulfils its requirement to pay its tax liabilities to the UK Government,” she said.