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Kirkby residents told of firm’s plans to reduce number of turbines

Feedback from residents has seen a reduction in the planned number of turbines at a windfarm redevelopment.

At the latest in a series of information days, residents near Kirkby Moor heard revised plans from RWE Innogy UK for the repowering of the area’s windfarm.

New plans include a reduction in the number of turbines from 13 to seven, alongside proposals for smaller tip heights. Turbine tips must now be no longer than 115 metres. The new turbines will now also be grouped closer together in order to have a smaller impact on views of the moor.

Residents were also able to see the proposed layout of the repowered windfarm and offer their own views on the RWE Innogy’s most recent plans.

Despite plans for fewer turbines, advances in wind power technology mean the site is expected to power a larger number of homes than before. While Kirkby Moor now powers around 2,500 homes, a new site could power as many as 12,800.

RWE Innogy UK’s developer for the repowering, Chris Gainey, said: “We were really pleased with the response we received from the public at our information days and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who took the time to attend.

“Planning permission for the existing windfarm ends in 2018 and so we have been investigating options to repower the site.

“This not only includes replacing the existing turbines with more efficient, modern turbines, but examining a range of site designs to maximise its energy generation.

“As part of this process, we sought the views of local residents and received a lot of valuable feedback. This feedback, together with the results of our technical studies, has been used to inform the latest design of the repowered windfarm.

“This has included reducing the number of turbines to seven from a previous proposal of 13, and capping their tip height at 115 metres. We believe this new design is a good compromise between the number of turbines and the maximum tip height.”

The current Kirkby Moor site, which includes 12 turbines, has been running since 1993. Initial plans for redevelopment would have seen either 10 or 13 turbines at the redevelopment, but this has been revised down to seven.

Mr Gainey added: “If the repowered site was to be consented, work is proposed to improve the ecology of the moor and an increased community investment fund, worth up to £75,000 per year over the life of the windfarm, would become available subject to the final installed capacity of the scheme.”

A new planning application from RWE Innogy could be on the cards later this year.