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Massive East Lancashire wind farm scheme cut back after objections

Plans to double the size of England’s biggest onshore wind farm have been scaled back after Rossendale residents objected.

Scout Moor Wind Farm Expansion Ltd, a joint venture between United Utilities and the land’s co-owners, Peel Energy, wanted to build another 26 turbines between Rawtenstall and Edenfield.

But the firm is now proposing to add just 16 turbines to the existing plot after its public consultation scheme ended.

Changes to the project include an increased distance between the proposed new turbines and ‘important recreational routes’, including the Mary Townley Loop.

Peel Energy said the downsized wind farm, which will reduce the generating capacity to less than 50MW, means the project is no longer classed as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project.

Jon England, from Peel Energy, said: “Thank you to everyone who took the time and trouble to comment on our plans to expand Scout Moor Wind Farm during our consultations in July and August. We received some really useful feedback and have changed our expansion plans in response. We’re now seeking feedback on our new proposals prior to submitting our planning application to Rochdale and Rossendale Borough Councils early next year.”

The turbines that have been curtailed from the revised plans are those in the north-west and north-east of the site. Peel has also promised to site the new turbines so that they do not disturb areas of deep peat on the moor.

Scout Moor Wind Farm Expansion Ltd said at the outset of the expansion that it planned to launch a co-operative ownership scheme to give residents the opportunity to buy a stake in the wind farm themselves.

It will also mak £250,000 available annually for community projects and good causes.

Scout Moor became operational in 2008 and could produce enough electricity for the average annual needs of approximately 40,000 homes through its 25-year lifespan.

It was given the go-ahead in May 2005 after a public inquiry.