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Campaigners respond to planning recommendation that bid to construct three 100m turbines in Colne Valley is refused

Campaigners have responded to a Kirklees Council officer’s recommendation that a controversial bid to put up three 100m wind turbines in the Colne Valley is refused.

Head of Valley Wind Co-operative, the group behind the Slaithwaite Moor proposal, Steve Slator, said that they were ‘disappointed but not entirely surprised’ by the guidance and are now working hard to create a strong case to put before the planning committee next Thursday.

Meanwhile, one of the members of opposition group Slaithwaite Moor Opposes Giant Industrial Turbines, John Berryman, said their group welcomed the recommendations, which suggested that the harm the three turbines will cause to the green belt will be too high to outweigh any benefit.

However, it will be the committee’s members who will consider evidence from the parties before deciding the ruling.

Mr Slator believes the plans for Cupwith Reservoir , which would need £10m in funding to become reality, will allow them to produce electricity for the community, reduce CO2 emissions and donate at least £150,000 a year to a new community fund.

He said: “We have been in talks with the officer for some time so were aware of his views but we don’t agree with them.

“We are still in discussions with the council about the ecological issues but it is a fairly complex matter due to the laws in place, which experts have different views on.

“There is no process that can adequately weigh up the effect on birds’ habitats against the impact on carbon emissions-it all comes down to personal judgement.

“We are assessing the guidelines and consulting with experts to ensure we can put a strong case forward on Thursday and hope that it gets a fair hearing.”

The plans have split opinions in Slaithwaite, with those opposing them stating that it will destroy views and bird habitats.

Mr Berryman, said: “I like wind turbines, have not objected to others in the area and have promoted them-I even have my own hydro electric one.

“The problem with this plan is that although it’s the right idea it’s in totally the wrong place.

“If constructed, they could damage the landscape and effect tourism because people won’t be able to enjoy the views and as the officer’s report said, Valley Wind have failed to prove that the plan won’t have a negative effect on the South Pennines Special Protection Area.

“It’s like they are trying to create a cake without all the ingredients, it won’t work.”

Fellow member, Robert Bamforth, added: “We’ll put forward a strong case and it will be interesting because it’s two sides of the community against each other, which really isn’t a good thing.”