August 1, 2015

Plans for new wind turbine prompt fears of ‘hotchpotch wind farm’

Rob Lowson, T&A Reporter | Telegraph & Argus |

Plans for a new wind turbine near Queensbury look set to be turned down after Council officers said the green belt area was already a “hotchpotch wind farm.”

The Bradford Area Planning Panel has been advised to refuse a proposal for a new 36 metre high turbine at Bar Farm, off Brighouse and Denholme Road.

Home Energy Efficiency Ltd, the agents behind the project, claim it will help secure the long-term financial sustainability of the farm, but officers state the number of turbines in the Soil Hill area has now “re-defined” the local landscape.

A similar application was refused in December last year, with an appeal currently under consideration by the Planning Inspectorate.

In the project’s application statement, developers state that the turbine will generate around 405,000 kW hours of renewable energy per year, and reduce annual levels of CO2 from fossil fuels by 180 tonnes, described as “substantial” benefits to the environment.

The application also states: “The income from this turbine would contribute towards the long-term sustainability of the farming enterprise by generating energy to feed into the power grid and produce income to support the farm and retain future employment.”
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A report due to go before the planning panel states: “There have been a number of wind turbines constructed in this particular character area over the last two or three years.

“The character of the landscape has been altered to the extent that further similar developments would be undesirable in view of the visual harm that will continue to accumulate.

“The proposed development here would be contrary to green belt policy, and the cumulative visual harm is not outweighed by the energy generation potential of the proposed new turbine.”

In a consultee comment on the proposal, Simon Alderson, landscape architect at Bradford Council, said: “I have previously made the point that it is not possible to say that the landscape impact of this particular machine in isolation is any more significant than that of other nearby machines with planning permission, or already constructed.

“But, this application follows on in sequence from quite a considerable number of successful similar applications, and there has to be a point where saturation is deemed to have been reached.

“I would suggest that when the plethora of existing machines looks to all intents and purposes like a hotchpotch wind farm, then the ability of the landscape to ‘absorb’ the impact of these wind turbines as single elements has been exceeded.

“There has been an incremental increase in the presence of turbines in the area, such that the combined effect on Soil Hill is seen as a dysfunctional wind farm.”

The Bradford Area Planning Panel will decide on the project – which has split opinion online with 24 comments against the plans, and 22 in support – when they meet at City Hall on Wednesday.

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