A bid for three giant wind turbines in the Colne Valley remains uncertain.
Kirklees planning officers have recommended that Valley Wind Cooperative’s plan for three 100m turbines off New Hey Road be rejected.
It will, however, be up to councillors to rule on the plan when the Strategic Planning Committee meets on Thursday.
In a report to councillors officers say: “This proposal could lead to undoubted benefits due to the production of a significant amount of renewable energy.
“In this instance, these benefits would not be sufficient to offset the harm to the openness of the Green Belt. The development would conflict with the key characteristics of the existing landscape affecting regionally and nationally important landscapes.
“The development would give rise to significant adverse effects on visual amenity affecting access land, key recreational/tourist sites and routes and residential receptors. There would also be a perceived spread of wind energy development, encroaching on views from the National Park causing detrimental effects on sensitive recreational areas, including the South Pennines SPA which is a European designated site.
“It is considered that this proposal would have a detrimental impact on the integrity of the south Pennines SPA, which is a European designated site.”
A decision on the three turbines was delayed last September after Valley Wind questioned information or omissions in the committee’s report.
The cooperative – made up of local residents – says that the turbines will provide electricity for around 4,700 households. They argue the plan is in a good area for wind, is commercially viable, is close to a potential grid connection and is free from environmental constraints.
But not everyone agrees. Of the statutory consultees, Kirklees highways; the Public Rights of Way team and the council’s business and economy team object, the latter believing the turbines may impact tourism.
Natural England, the Peak District National Park and Royal Society for the Protection of Birds also object.
An independent landscape consultant employed by Kirklees Council says Slaithwaite Moor turbines would “conflict with key landscape characteristics and qualities of the South Pennine Moors landscape – including their rugged grandeur, remoteness, wildness and expansive views”.
Environmental Services do not oppose but ask for conditions while neighbouring Calderdale and Oldham councils do not oppose.
But among the wider public there is support – overall 1,402 representations were made – 1,077 in support and 325 against.
Those in favour argue that “urgent action” is needed on climate change and it would lead to a “significant community benefit” for people to buy shares and a community fund of £150,000.
A local opposition group, SMOGIT, oppose as do Huddersfield Civic Society, the National Trust, Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and Colne Valley and Calder Valley MPs.
A decision will be made on Thursday at 1pm at Huddersfield Town Hall.
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